Friday, October 20, 2006

Arab Americans Are Second Class Citizens In The Occupied Territories




Not my words but those of a senior diplomatic official.


During her recent trip to Israel, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raised the issue with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and U.S. diplomats have also recently complained to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, officials said.

"They are being treated as Arabs and not Americans," one senior official said. "They basically treat them as second-class citizens."

In a speech October 11 before the American Task Force on Palestine, Rice acknowledged "continuing problems of security" faced by Palestinian-Americans living and working in Gaza and the West Bank and pledged "to ensure that all American travelers receive fair and equal treatment."

David Siegel, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, told CNN in a phone interview, "We are aware of the issue and it is being treated at senior levels, but we are waiting for more details from the administration on specific cases they have raised."



Though this might be news to most, I can't say that I've been unaware of such issues facing Arab Americans traveling in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Not because I'm so astute but because Israel's mistreatment of Arab Americans changed the State Departments policies years ago, concerning American citizens in foreign countries. Most Americans think when they travel abroad they have power and security the Pope could only dream of, you know that line, "Hey you can't do that I'm an American!" Sorry John Smith, it doesn't work like that anymore. So before you go running around in a foreign country with your pants down, let me clarify things for you. That's how it used to be, American citizens used to have the leverage of contacting the U.S. Embassy for various reasons. Approximately 10-15 years ago that all changed. Israel lobbied the State Department to change their policies regarding American travelers so that Americans of Palestinian ancestry returning home could not refuse check points, unwarranted arrests and other abuses. The State Department eventually conceded and since changed their policy stating that Americans are subject to the laws of the country they are visiting.

To read that the State Department was unaware of Israeli mistreatment of Arab Americans in the occupied territories, is laughable. Where were the State Departments objections when they bent over to Israel's request. They know why the policy was changed, they were aware of the methods of the IDF concerning Arab Americans before the policy was changed because by lobbying for a policy change Israeli petitioners brought their intentions to light, as if to say, 'this is how we want to treat Palestinians regardless of American citizenship , this is how we have been treating them but your foreign policy is complicating the matter.'

I'd love to slander Condi and demand she get off her butt and do something but what can she do, ask Tzipi Livni to lighten up on Arabs, 'pretty please' ? There's a better chance of me marrying Haifa Wahbe. It's not as though Arab Americans traveled through Israel harassment free before the State Department amended its policies. However I have this piece of advice for Ms. Rice, hold on let me turn on my mega-phone...

CONDI, STOP PUCKERING YOUR LIPS UP TO ISRAEL'S BUTT CRACK! THE U.S. GIVES OVER 1.6 BILLION DOLLARS TO ISRAEL EVERY YEAR, NOT INCLUDING BALANCING OUT THEIR DEFICIT EACH YEAR. YOU DON'T HAVE TO POLITELY ASK THEM TO BE CIVIL AND HUMANE TO AMERICAN CITIZENS, DEMAND IT!!!!!

BTW- I have a Palestinian friend who gets beat up, arrested and released without charges each and every single time he travels back to the homeland (the occupied territories of Palestine). I don't know why that stupid bastard keeps going back. The worst part about it is that he was born in the U.S., he's Palestinian only by blood. He's not even a potential terrorist, the guy's Christian....C'est la vie

21 Comments:

At 8:28 AM, Blogger Rhino-itall said...

All American citizens should be treated with respect around the world, but especially in Israel or any other country that we lives under our umbrella.

However, i also agree that we should be subject to their laws. Just like anyone from anywhere in the world is subject to being searched at our airports, if there's a check point in Gaza, you have to comply.

As far as getting arrested and beaten, i wouldn't know anything about that cause i'm pretty bad ass and i don't think anyone would want to mess with me like that.

Seriously, people fear me. it's true..... just ask me.....

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Rhino-itall said...

holy shit, i just checked out that chick haifa wehbe. you should include a pic instead of that link (which doesn't work by the way)

This chick wants me.... its true..... just ask me.....

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger Egyptian magician said...

Where is the a rule of law that arab-americans traveling to the middle east should be treated harshly.

I agree that we should follow the law of the land, but let's be honest. The fact that we don't agree with a lot of those laws is the reason we're on these blogs anyways.

In other words, b*tch sessions are allowed.

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

The State Department eventually conceded and since changed their policy stating that Americans are subject to the laws of the country they are visiting.

Really disagree with you on this one. Americans have ALWAYS been subject to the laws of the country they are in, just like everyone else. Arrogance notwithstanding.

Can you document these claims you are making? Americans have been getting mistreated by third world governments for as long as I've been alive. There was a case last year where an American businessman was arrested in Saudi Arabia where he was tortured, sodomized and held in prison for 2 years... without charge. And that wasn't a dual citizen, that was a real born and raised 100% American, too.

I ciuld document hundreds of such cases going back decades, at least.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger D.B. Shobrawy said...

Craig the point is that, Yes of course you have always been bound to the laws of a country being that they are respected by the U.S. Previously If you went to England for example and the police wanted to arrest you for being American or some nonsense, you could contact the embassy and you would have some leverage. The State Departments policy now suggests that, if thats what they do then thats what they do, otherwise palestinian americans would have some rights withstandingd in the occupied territories, where they dont.

As far as the weirdo who went to Saudi Arabia, got sodomized and didnt appeal to the embassy, long before the policy was changed, is a damn fool. I would suspect whoever got sodomized in Saudi Arabia and didnt appeal to the government probably liked it!

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

Officials said that despite a longstanding policy of issuing visas to Americans traveling to the West Bank and Gaza, the Israeli government has recently denied Palestinian-Americans and certain other Americans entry.

Based on commentary I've seen from Palestinians on blogs, I think that's a sensible precaution. A Palestinian doesn't renounce enmity for Israel when he/she becomes a naturlize US citizen.

And despite all the comments by random un-named officials, this is all Condi said in that article:

In a speech October 11 before the American Task Force on Palestine, Rice acknowledged "continuing problems of security" faced by Palestinian-Americans living and working in Gaza and the West Bank and pledged "to ensure that all American travelers receive fair and equal treatment."

A laudable goal. All people should have security and fair and equal treatment when they travel abroad.

Note that she is talking about Palestinian Americans living nd working in the West Bank, though - not travelers! The whole article amounts to a whole lot of nothing, and was just a political play, in my opinion. Haven't we had eneough of the politics? I'm dissapointed in Condi, as usual. What does she hope to gain with this stunt? Not arab hearts and minds, I'm sure... even the neocons realize by now that's a lost cause... so, what's she up to?

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

DB,

Previously If you went to England for example and the police wanted to arrest you for being American or some nonsense, you could contact the embassy and you would have some leverage.

This is a myth. That's what I'm trying to say. There are thousands of US citziens in latin american prisons, right now. Thousands.

As far as the weirdo who went to Saudi Arabia, got sodomized and didnt appeal to the embassy, long before the policy was changed, is a damn fool. I would suspect whoever got sodomized in Saudi Arabia and didnt appeal to the government probably liked it!

He did appeal to the US embassy. Many times. That's a pretty nasty comment that somebody would actually like being sodomized by prison guards during torture sessions.

I'll try to find the link to this particualr case later on. But I'm usre you coudl find lots of similar cases if you look, they aren't uncommon. American tourists have always vastly over-estimated their own importance. If Americans are treated well in foreign countries, that's because of a policy or a courtesy, not because of a law.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

Here is an interesting account of a Canadian and 4 Brits who were abused by Saudi Arabia, DB:

INDEPTH: THE WILLIAM SAMPSON STORY

I'll probably never find that story I was looking for. Doing a google search for westerners imprisoned and tortured in Saudi Arabia yields more results than I have time to go through.

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger D.B. Shobrawy said...

Well when ever it comes to Palestine and the Palestinians, instead of saying you know what this is wrong and i understand they are being mistreated, we always try and find some way to legitimize it. So because of the distaste palestinian bloggers have for Israel, palestinians deserve to be harrased and mistreated in Israel, even though they are american? If you were palestinian and had family there who went though certain abuses on a regular basis, if you didnt hate Israel, I would think thats kind of weird. Suddenly its a crime and even anti-semetic to dislike Israel, but its ok to Hate the FRENCH and France?

BTW This is what the State department says about foreign arrests and what the U.S. CAN DO for you, which if they were inforced would have protected your Saudi Traveler. There is a problem in how the U.S. protects Americans abroad in general.

* visit you in jail after being notified of your arrest
* give you a list of local attorneys (The U.S. Government cannot assume responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of these individuals or recommend a particular attorney.)
* notify your family and/or friends and relay requests for money or other aid -- but only with your authorization
* intercede with local authorities to make sure that your rights under local law are fully observed and that you are treated humanely, according to internationally accepted standards
* protest mistreatment or abuse to the appropriate authorities

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger programmer craig said...

DB,

Well when ever it comes to Palestine and the Palestinians, instead of saying you know what this is wrong and i understand they are being mistreated

I don't know either of those two things, DB. I have a great deal of mistrust for Palestinian public relations efforts. If you've got something you want me to look at that seems neutral and objctive, I'll be happy to do so. I've seen a number of claims that Palestinian Americans have been mistreated at checkpoints, but in every case when I did deeper it seems as if they were deliberately provoking a confrontation with the Israeli border guards. If I behaved that way, I'd expect to get my ass beat too. Even here in my own country, if I questioned and challenged law enforcement like that, they'd probably zap me with a tazer gun and haul me off to jail. You don't get to do that. Anywhere.

So because of the distaste palestinian bloggers have for Israel, palestinians deserve to be harrased and mistreated in Israel, even though they are american?

I didn't say that. And Israel is at war, and is the occupying power in the Palestinin territories, and is the sovereign power. Do you expect them to give their enemies free reign, just because those enemies are US citizens as well as Palestinians?

I don't. Sorry. The vast majority of Palestinian Americans *are* enemies of Israel, and will freely say so. All you have to do is ask.

If you were palestinian and had family there who went though certain abuses on a regular basis, if you didnt hate Israel, I would think thats kind of weird.

And likewise, Israelis should hate Palestinians, wouldn't you say?

Suddenly its a crime and even anti-semetic to dislike Israel

I didn't say anything about anti-semitic, DB. It *is* a crime to challenge law enforcement officials, refuse their orders, or interfere with their duties.

but its ok to Hate the FRENCH and France?

At least I'm not advocating that French people should be killed, DB.

BTW, any comment on all the Americans who keep getting kidnapped in Gaza and the West Bank? Don't they have any rights, as Americans?

which if they were inforced would have protected your Saudi Traveler.

Nothing can be enforced. That's the problem. And US diplomats have shown great gusto for throwing US citizens in trouble over the side when it comes to preserving good diplomatic relations. Not just Palestinian Americans. Been happening for a long, long time.

 
At 1:06 PM, Blogger Rhino-itall said...

wait, are we all in agreement that it's ok to hate the french?
Ok good, because i can't stand those cheese eating surrender monkeys.

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger Egyptian magician said...

Israel in Gaza and the Palestinian territories is NOT war...it is occupation, plainly.

I support the WALL.
Those fools can't get along.

 
At 10:03 AM, Anonymous ha ana za said...

well to me the point is: why should an american citizen be treated any better than an egyptian citizen, palestinian, brit, australian etc etc???
Does have that lousy passport make them better people?
Basically Israel should learn to treat any arab...wether palestinian born, palestinian blood, lebanese or iraqi with respect...and for that matter so should the US.

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

I have heard that its rough for people married to Palstinians, because the isreals will no longer give anyone permanent residents visas. There was a story on NPR about a Jordanian woman married to a Palestinian. She can not get a resident permit so that she can travel to Jordan to see her family. Of course her husband has one. So her husband could take the kids to her relatives' wedding but she couldn't go because the Israelis might not let her back into the occupied territories. Its just a form of collective punishment. Also, I can see that the israelis don't want to encourage more people to live in the territories. That just means more enemies for them. But still, on a human level your heart bleeds for these people. Marrying a Palestinian should not mean giving up your right to travel and see your family. The Israelis should not be allowed to separate mothers from their children only because the mothers left to go to a wedding in Jordan. What if the woman's parent gets sick and she can't go home to nurse them. Still even though I like Arabs much better than Israelis, the Israelis are not threatening to kill me or fly planes into buildings so I have to support Israel.

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger D.B. Shobrawy said...

Miss C, my favorite ultra conservative, your telling me after all that you think every Arab is a potential terrorist?! come on lets not be too ridiculous

 
At 6:55 PM, Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

Sho, no jewish israelis are trying to kill me. Some Muslims are trying to kill me. The Muslims lump themselves and americans and israelis together, so why shouldn't I lump terrorists and the average Muslim together? I can't distinguish between a nice Muslim on his way to school with his backpack and a terrorist on the bus with a bomb in his backpack.

 
At 7:10 PM, Blogger D.B. Shobrawy said...

So because some terrorists lump people together then you should lump together, your smarter than that, your educated. Its our sensibilities that seperate us from the animals (terrorists)

 
At 3:42 AM, Anonymous ha ana za said...

@miss carniverous: I hope you're being ironic here :) coz that's a really stupid attitude to take. By lumping an entire group together you're putting yourself at the same level as these terrorists, which really makes you no better.
Don't oversimplfy what is a complex issue.

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

Oh, I think I am better than a terrorist. I can never ever hurt anyone, I would not blow up children just to get land back even if they took it from me.

 
At 2:48 PM, Blogger Egypeter said...

I know this is totally off topic but...

Kola sana wa inta tayab ya D.B.

Happy Ramadan to all :)

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger Egyptian magician said...

Yeah

DB....Eid mubarak...happy Ramadan. I hope you had a fast full of blessing. May all your dreams and fantasies come true.

 

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