JVPA: The Israeli government must be held accountable — deny Israel entry to visa waiver program

“The U.S. government continues to offer blanket support to Israel, even as it means funding violent settler mobs attacking U.S. citizens and elected officials.”


Contact: Sonya E Meyerson-Knoz | media@jvp.org | 202-964-0380‬

Washington, D.C., June 23, 2023 – Two days ago, hundreds of armed Israeli settlers surrounded Illinois State Representative Abdelnasser Rashid’s family home in the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya in the Occupied West Bank while he and his family were inside.

This comes after a series of attacks on the village by Jewish Israeli settlers that have been ongoing for months. On June 21st, hundreds of Israeli settlers carried out a pogrom in the village, setting Palestinian houses and cars on fire while residents hid in their homes, and prompting a military raid on the village, in which a Palestinian resident and 27 year-old father of two, Omar Qattin, was shot and killed. 

The Israeli military actively joined and intensified the attacks, turning their weapons on Palestinians and preventing ambulances and medics from treating the injured. This is the routine reality for Palestinians facing daily, escalating violence from an Israeli settler movement supported and enabled by the Israeli government. The pogrom in Turmus Ayya happened as the Israeli government announced its plan to build 1,000 new units in the nearby illegal settlement of Eli.

In addition to the presence of a U.S. State Representative, many Palestinian residents of the village of Turmus Ayya are also U.S. citizens. This status provided zero protection from the Biden Administration, which refuses to hold the Israeli government accountable for its crimes. Instead of withdrawing U.S. complicity from the far-right settler Israeli government, the Biden administration is moving to grant Israel entrance into the Visa Waiver Program. The program grants nationals visa-free entrance into the U.S. — and must provide reciprocal treatment for U.S. citizens. Given the decades of systematic and well-documented discrimination against Palestinian Americans by the Israeli government, like those who have just survived the pogrom in Turmus Ayya, these requirements will not be met.

Jewish Voice for Peace Action demands that the Biden Administration immediately call on Israel to cease its collective punishment of Palestinian civilians and reject Israel’s attempt to join the Visa Waiver Program while it continues discriminatory practices against U.S. citizens, including Palestinian Americans. 

“The Israeli settlers burning down Palestinian homes and attacking Palestinians in the street are supported by the Israeli military and the Israeli government. The same Israeli military that receives $3.8 billion every year from the United States. The U.S. government continues to offer blanket support to the Israeli government, even as it means funding violent settler mobs attacking U.S. citizens and elected officials. Rather than holding the Israeli government accountable for these crimes, the Biden Administration is extending further impunity and entering the Visa Waiver program while the Israeli government escalates its discriminatory practices.” 

Stefanie Fox, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace Action