Cablegate: Daughter of Prominent Palestinian Activist Faces
DE RUEHJM #1224 1930419
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110419Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2093
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS JERUSALEM 001224
NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, IPA; CA FOR CA/OCS/ACS/NESCA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC PREL IS KWBG KPAL
SUBJECT: Daughter of Prominent Palestinian Activist Faces
Loss of Jerusalem Residency
REFTEL: Jerusalem 1190
1. Zeina Hutchison, a U.S. legal permanent resident and daughter of
prominent Palestinian legislator and human rights activist Hanan
Ashrawi, contacted Post July 9 to report the problems she had
encountered when entering Israel with her Israeli Travel Document
(carrying a tourist visa) at Ben Gurion Airport on July 9.
Recommendation at Para 6.
2. The GoI recently revoked Ms. Hutchison's residency status and
travel documents on the basis of a GOI policy of revoking the
Jerusalem resident status and laissez passer of anyone who acquires
immigrant status or citizenship in another country (reftel). When
Ms. Hutchison went to the Israeli Embassy to renew her laissez
passer, the request was refused and her Jerusalem ID cancelled. In a
rare reversal, once it appeared the case would receive significant
media attention, the Embassy issued her a new laissez passer for
travel but did not restore her Jerusalem ID.
3. According to Ms. Hutchison, she and her ten-month old American
citizen son arrived at Ben Gurion Airport July 9. She was traveling
on her laissez passer bearing a three-month tourist visa from the
Embassy of Israel in Washington; her son had a U.S. passport, also
with a three-month tourist visa. The immigration official reviewed
the travel documents and asked Ms. Hutchison to take her son and
step aside while she made some inquiries. The official returned and
asked for Ms. Hutchison's U.S passport. When Ms. Hutchison said she
did not have one, the official said she and her child would not be
permitted to enter Israel, because "we instructed you to get a U.S.
passport." Ms. Hutchison told ConOff that she explained to the
immigration official that the GoI agreed to give her a new laissez
passer in Washington, D.C. When the immigration official told Ms.
Hutchison that she would have to go to the Ministry of Interior to
resolve the issue if permitted to enter, she responded that
resolving her residency issue with the Ministry was one of the
purposes for her visit.
4. Approximately two hours later, the immigration official returned
the travel documents, according to Ms. Hutchison, stating "You are
leaving in two weeks." The three-month tourist visa in each
passport was stamped to authorize a two-week maximum stay. Ms.
Hutchison told ConOff that, at that point, she decided to take the
documents and leave the airport for Ramallah.
5. Ms. Hutchison emphasized to ConOff her strong frustration with
feeling forced to accept a three-month tourist visa ("to my own
home") and with having nearly been denied entry. Ms. Hutchison
expressed concern that this incident represented a renewed effort by
the GoI to deny her residency, nothing that at least she is
fortunate to have connections to help her; whereas, many others in
similar situations are being stripped of their residency without
6. Post recommends that the USG engage with the GOI to seek the
restoration of her status as a Jerusalem resident.