The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

The student news site of Stone Bridge High School

The Bulldog Tribune

Israel Minimizes Travel Restrictions

Israel+Minimizes+Travel+Restrictions

After 50 years of travel restrictions, Israelites will be able to visit the United States without a visa starting in July. The announcement made by the United States Embassy in Israel on Sept. 27 prompted Israel to change travel restrictions on Palestinian Americans in the Ben Gurion Airport, making it easier for Americans to visit their friends and family back in Israel.

The loosened travel restrictions in Israel will hopefully put an end to the stringent security measures typically given to Palestinian Americans. The common interrogations, stolen luggage, and seeming prejudice deterred a lot of Americans from visiting the country. 

“Israel will announce changes to their policies to ensure equal treatment to all U.S. citizen travelers without regard to national origin, religion or ethnicity,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said to the “Wall Street Journal”.  

The fear of being arrested or interrogated by Israeli officials remains, as members of the right wing Likud party continue to act less than welcoming to the visiting Palestinian Americans.

“This will oblige us to allow the entry of unwanted parties, Palestinians, who will travel in the country,” Minister of Tourism Haim Katz said to the “Washington Post”. “Who needs this?”

When the restrictions were first taken down in Israel, many travelers were concerned about being turned away at the airport and forced to fly back to the United States.

“We have already learned of a number of U.S. citizen families who flew to Israel to take advantage of visa waiver travel under the new MOU who were denied entry for having Gaza IDs,” 15 Democratic senators write in a letter to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

Israel will announce changes to their policies to ensure equal treatment to all U.S. citizen travelers without regard to national origin, religion or ethnicity.

— Matthew Miller

On Nov. 30, Israel will appear on the United States’ list of nations that do not require a visa in order to travel to the country, a show of the government’s attempt to move past old fears of Israeli espionage.

“The U.S. intelligence community and law enforcement routinely evaluate potential counterintelligence risks from a host of countries. This is in the case of the visa waiver program,” an U.S. official said to NPR. “The arrangements under the visa-waiver program do not represent any insurmountable obstacle to the work we do to protect the homeland from intelligence collection.”

Both governments are actively working out the kinks of this new agreement, but nevertheless the lifting of travel restrictions is a big accomplishment for those in Israel and in the United States.

“It’s not a full two-state solution, no,” a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Thomas Nides, said to the “Washington Post”. “But for the first time in decades, Palestinian Americans are going to be treated like any other American.”

 

About the Contributor
Emma O'Hair, Staff Writer
Emma O’Hair is a sophomore and a first time member of the "Bulldog Tribune". She plays the trumpet for the school band and volleyball for the high school team. In her free time she enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, reading the Six of Crows book series, and talking with friends.