Friends, colleagues, and conscientious supporters of Palestinian rights made targeted inquiries to DC legislators and hundreds of calls to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. These, no doubt, helped pressure the respective embassy and consulate staffers to inquire about Abudayyeh, and even helped his children speak to him for a few minutes.
But why did Israel send him back to the U.S.? Why does Israel get to treat Palestinians the way it treated him? Abudayyeh is only one of many U.S. citizens of Palestinian descent who are or have been discriminated against by Israeli authorities over the years. Of course Israel acts with impunity against Palestinians regardless of passport, but it is incredible that it treats U.S. citizens this way, and even more incredible that the U.S. State Department DOES NOTHING ABOUT IT!
Abudayyeh was just trying to return for a visit to his childhood home–which he had recently remodeled–in El Jib in the occupied West Bank. He was detained despite the fact that he has chronic illnesses, including diabetes and high blood pressure, and is a recent cancer survivor.
Other U.S. citizen Palestinians like Sandra Tamari, Nour Joudah, the family of Orwa Hammad, and of course the child Tariq Abu Khdeir, who was beaten almost to death by Israeli police, have similar and sometimes much worse stories.
And we’re not even able to report these stories to the State Department, because the link on the website was broken for years and still doesn’t appear to be functioning properly.
Our friends at the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and Right to Enter, respectively and together, have done a lot of work on this issue, so we should also continue to press the U.S. State Department to End Israeli’s Impunity.
Also copy and paste it into the DC office contact form.
“Dear U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry:
In the wake of the detention of Khairy Izzat Abudayyeh, and the denial of his entry into Palestine–one in a long line of egregious examples of Israeli discrimination against U.S. citizens–I strongly urge you to hold Israel accountable for a racist policy that has continued unabated for decades.
As a first step, and even though you have rejected this recommendation in the past, it is critical for the State Department to begin tracking and reporting incidents of discrimination and denial of entry to ensure Israel’s compliance with the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the U.S. and Israel, and also to determine Israel’s eligibility for the United States Visa Waiver Program.
Lawmakers, civil society organizations, and numerous Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim institutions have long called on the State Department to begin tracking and responding to Israel’s interrogation, detention, and denial of entry to U.S. citizens, and I encourage you to heed that call.
The State Department must go beyond issuing condemnations of Israel’s policies, and take concrete action to address this decades-long pattern.
We have seen the most vicious racism personified in Israel’s apartheid policies, continued occupation of Palestinian land, siege on Gaza, and recent military support of its settlers’ attacks on West Bank and Jerusalem Palestinians. Israel’s crimes extend to its treatment of U.S. citizens as well.
The status quo is unacceptable and I sincerely hope the State Department will ensure that all U.S. passport holders are treated equally, regardless of their national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, or political beliefs.
Please also bcc firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep track of the letters sent.
Thank you all for helping to force Israel to release our elder Khairy Izzat Abudayyeh, and your continued support for the Palestinian rights of Return, Self-Determination, and Independence.