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Cablegate: Demarche - Limitations On Entry/Exit to Israel

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #2282 2471221
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041203Z SEP 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 9263
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 3106
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 2992
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 5591

UNCLAS STATE 092282

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC CVIS KPAL PREF PREL IS
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE - LIMITATIONS ON ENTRY/EXIT TO ISRAEL
FOR AMCITS

REF: A. A. JERUSALEM 1324
B. B. STATE 82689
C. C. TEL AVIV 1840

1. (U) This is an action request. See paragraph 2.

2. (SBU) Action Request: The Department requests that Embassy
Tel Aviv approach the GOI at the highest appropriate level to
parallel Department approaches regarding the limitations that
the GOI has placed on certain Amcit travelers as reported in
ref A. Tel Aviv should draw upon the objectives provided in
paragraph 4 (ref B) to formulate this message.

3. (SBU) Background: The Department continues to receive
reports of Amcits experiencing problems traveling to and from
Jerusalem and the West Bank. Open source reporting continues
to focus on problems encountered by travelers to Israel,
including reports in major media outlets. Congressional and
community inquiries are increasing, which echo reports from
ConGen Jerusalem, the PLO Office in Washington and NGOs that
Amcits are provided with a stamp limiting travel to "PA Areas
Only." Also, similar reports note the provision to some
travelers at Ben Gurion Airport of a form that restricts
those travelers from entering the West Bank. This has
hampered our ability to inform the American traveling public
of exactly when these restrictions are used and when they are
not.

4. (SBU) Ref C reports on an initial demarche made by Embassy
Tel Aviv to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The
Department continues to await a complete answer from the GOI.
The Department understands that the GOI is now discussing
this entry/exit problem at the highest levels of the
government. As such, the Department requests that Embassy
Tel Aviv raise the level of approach to reinforce with senior
GOI officials the USG's interest in this issue. These
restrictions have already been raised in meetings between
senior Department officials and high ranking Israeli
officials. The U.S. expects all Amcits to be treated equally
by the GOI, including Amcits of Palestinian and Arab origin.
In concurrence with higher level approaches in Tel Aviv, the
Department will continue to press the GOI at the highest
levels on this issue.

4. (SBU) Objectives:

-- Press the GOI to end restrictions targeting certain
American citizen travelers to Israel, Jerusalem and the West
Bank. The GOI has not been specific on the circumstances and
types of traveler that are being subjected to the new entry
stamp and the new entry restriction form being employed at
Allenby and Ben Gurion.

-- Remind the GOI that it is the expectation of the USG that
all Amcits are treated equally, regardless of their national
origin or other citizenships. GOI restrictions that unfairly
impact Palestinian American or Arab American travelers are
not acceptable.

-- Request that employees of the Coordinating Office for
Government Activities in the Occupied Territories (COGAT) be
instructed not/not to require a letter or fax or any other
kind of statement or support from the Embassy or Consulate
General when individuals made subject to these restrictions
apply for permission to enter areas of the PA from Israel or
to enter Israel from PA controlled areas. The fact that an
individual is a U.S. citizen, and bears a U.S. passport, is
sufficient evidence of the USG's interest in that
individual's free passage. Refer the GOI to the notation on
the first page of all U.S. passports, which states, "The
Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby
requests all whom it may concern to permit the
citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass
without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all
lawful aid and protection." Requests for additional
statements of support should not be necessary. In addition,
since such letters have never resulted in COGAT granting an
exception to the restrictions, COGAT's purpose in requesting
them seems only to be only an attempt to avoid responsibility
for denying an exception.
CLINTON

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