Middle East

US lawmaker launches petition to reject Israel’s bid to join Visa Waiver Programme

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is asking her House colleagues to sign a petition preventing Israel’s inclusion in the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), news agencies reported on Friday.

The Michigan congresswoman pushed back against ongoing talks between Israel and the administration of President Joe Biden over the VWP, which allows foreign citizens to enter the US for 90 days without applying for a visa.

According to the letter, Tlaib argues that Israel’s “discriminatory policies” make it ineligible for inclusion in the VWP.

“The administration’s continued work to include Israel in the VWP is deeply troubling given that Israel appears to be, as the Institute for Middle East Understanding notes, patently ineligible due to its flagrant discrimination against Palestinian, MENA, Muslim and pro-Palestinian American citizens at its points of entry,” Tlaib wrote to colleagues soliciting signatures for the letter.

The petition also calls on Biden to reject Israeli discriminatory measures restricting Palestinian-Americans’ ability to travel to the West Bank and live, work, teach, study and reunite with family members there.

According to Americans for Justice in Palestine Actions, the new procedures: “Will even force US citizens to provide Israel with incredibly intrusive information about the personal details of anyone they plan to visit in the West Bank, and any property Palestinians stand to inherit.”

Tlaib and other progressives are rebutting these procedures and demanding information from the Biden administration to ensure that Israel reverses its discriminatory policies toward US citizens.

Tlaib’s letter closes for signatures on Monday.

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