YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


18 Americans Barred From Entering Israel

July 03, 2002|From Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel barred 18 Americans from entering the country and put them on a flight back to the United States on Tuesday as part of a policy of denying entry to foreigners who want to show solidarity with Palestinians.

The Americans arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday with the aim of going to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Tova Ellison said.

The U.S. group included naturalized citizens born in Pakistan, Egypt and Iraq, she said. Two members of the U.S. group were granted entry because they have dual Israeli citizenship. A British citizen traveling with the Americans was put on a flight back to Britain.

"They wanted to show solidarity with the Palestinians," Ellison said. "The state of Israel is in a state of war at the moment, and no other country would allow its enemies or those who support its enemies to enter."

The U.S. Embassy said it was checking into the matter and did not immediately comment. U.S. citizens normally receive a 90-day tourist visa upon arrival in Israel.

Ellison said Israel began denying entry to supporters of the Palestinian Authority in March. Since then, about 120 foreigners have been expelled from Israel and more than 200 have been denied entry, she said.

"The Interior Ministry does not allow and will not allow entry to those who come to support terror and the people who want to hurt the state of Israel," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

In June, Israel barred a group of 20 U.S. Muslims from entering the country. In another case, eight foreigners, among them a Jordanian journalist and two U.S. citizens, were expelled after troops caught them in the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank making a solidarity visit with Palestinians.

Los Angeles Times Articles