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Rights group sues US government to block Israel's entry to visa waiver program

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Passengers sit in a waiting room on the Jordanian side of the King Hussein Bridge (also known as Allenby Bridge) between the West Bank and Jordan, on 19 July 2022 (Photo by AFP)

A leading Arab American rights group is suing the US government and calling on a federal court to halt any further actions admitting Israel into the visa waiver program (VWP). 

The lawsuit, filed by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), states that based on credible reports and investigations, Israel is currently on the verge of being accepted into the VWP, despite failing to meet the legal requirements needed for entry.

It accuses the US government of allowing Israel to discriminate against Americans entering the occupied West Bank and other Palestinian territories.

"Defendants’ decision to enter into an agreement that allows the Government of Israel to create different classes of US citizens and treat them disparately in a way that is not reciprocal with how the US treats Israeli citizens."

Abed Ayoub, the ADC's executive director, said in a statement that "admitting Israel into the program would be an endorsement of discrimination against Palestinian and Arab Americans."

Experts, rights groups, lawmakers, and Palestinian Americans have already raised concerns, saying that the Tel Aviv regime was creating a multi-tiered system of entry that treats different groups of US citizens unequally, particularly Palestinians and other Arab Americans.

Earlier this month, more than a dozen senators raised these concerns with the Biden administration, sending a letter that warned against moving forward with Israel's entry into the VWP.

The ADC has said that the discrimination by Israel against American citizens even exists within the entity's current policies, including restrictions on how Palestinian Americans can cross checkpoints into the occupied West Bank and the "inhumane treatment of Palestinian Americans when they try to return to the US".

Palestinian Americans have been the latest victims of the ongoing violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

In the most recent incident, one Palestinian married to a US citizen was killed by Israeli troops during as hundreds of Israeli settlers rampaged through a West Bank village in June

Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was deliberately shot and killed by the Israeli forces, in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, May 19, 2022.

The Israeli military has taken no accountability for Palestinian American ctitizens it killed over past years.

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