Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid, AMP national board member and editor of the national Al Meezan Arabic newspaper, joined a delegation that visited the US State Department’s office of near eastern affairs on June 26 to discuss the treatment American citizen Sandra Tamari said she received from US embassy officials while detained at the Tel Aviv airport and awaiting deportation. After Israeli occupation authorities denied entry to Palestine to Tamari, an American of Palestinian heritage, she called the US embassy for assistance. According to Tamari, an embassy employee asked her if she “was Jewish” and then said he could not help her after he learned she was Palestinian American with family in the West Bank.
The incident made national news. Dr. Abu Irshaid said the delegation, which included Tamari, pointed to the ‘Friendship Treaty’ signed between Israel and the United States that requires Israel to admit American citizens freely with free access to travel within the region.
“The State Department official said Israel is a sovereign country so there is nothing the United States could do to help Tamari in her situation,” Dr. Abu Irshaid said. “But we kept pushing the Friendship treaty and urging the State Department to hold Israel accountable to it.”
The delegation was organized by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, which presented nearly 10,000 signatures from a petition seeking to inform US officials that all citizens should be treated equally.