THE JERUSALEM POST
Department of Homeland Security says Israel one of 36 countries whose citizens might have terrorist ties; doesn't reflect gov't policy.On August 7, 2010 I posted the following article on Real Americans Defend Israel:
WASHINGTON -- Israel is on a list compiled by US immigration authorities of countries that might harbor terrorists, it was reported this week.
The Department of Homeland Security list of 36 nations does not fault government policies and instead recognizes the likelihood that a suspect traveler from that country might have terrorist ties. READ MORE
"The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to U.S. interests in those locations. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to remain mindful of security factors when planning travel to Israel and the West Bank and to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip. This replaces the Travel Warning issued June 20, 2010 to update information on the general security environment in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip." ... see U.S. warnings hereAn Israeli commented last year, noting that the travel warning to Israel was "scare mongering"; that common sense would keep people from visiting Gaza (unless, of course, you have no common sense and are sailing off on the Audacity of Hope flotilla boat!); and the final opinion of this Israeli was that the travel warning of the USA State Department was of "Nationalistic interests of the Arabs and a conspiracy against Israel."
To my knowledge, the State of Israel looked into the matter last year, and our State Dept. gave some type of an "apology" to Israel and changed its wording on their "warning" list - some thought the U.S. State Department removed the warning, but unfortunately, I did not verify it last year.
What has changed since last year's State Department's warnings about traveling to Israel? ... glad you asked me! I'll list a few of my thoughts:
1. The relationship between this Administration and Israel has greatly deteriorated and while diplomatically, the leaders of both countries will quickly deny this is the case, Obama's speech in May to the Arab world, PM Netanyahu's meeting with Obama the day after and the subsequent speeches at the AIPAC Conference when Obama back-peddled what he has said two days earlier, followed by PM Netanyahu's welcoming speech to Congress are examples that there is grave danger that the present Administration has become more emboldened about its support for the Arab Palestinians, while pushing aside a long-standing American support for the security of the State of Israel.
2. One of the "flotilla" ships to "free" Gaza is a U.S. ship named "The Audacity of Hope". The Hamas Arab Palestinians are on the "TERRORIST" LIST of the United States, and yet, those sailing on this "Audacity" were not prevented from supporting Hamas/Gaza and freely left the shores of the U.S.. Isn't is a crime for anyone in the U.S. to support our enemies i.e. terrorists? Obama never commented on this particular support for Gaza, and yet when it arrived in Greece, the government of Greece has prevented it from continuing it journey to Gaza - which would have attempted to break international laws by ignoring Israel's navy blockade to Gaza in support of Hamas. Why does it take another nation to use common sense when it is well known that last year's flotilla from Turkey resulted in the deaths of both terrorists and serious injuries to Israel's Defense Forces?
3. Previous presidents have extended Congressional postponements to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital. However, recently, under Obama, this extension has not only been postponed again, but has (unlike previous president's) not assigned a date to bring this issue up (again) ... why? Could it be that Obama's two-state Arab Plan for peace includes the splitting of Jerusalem in two, giving the Palestinians control of half of Jerusalem? Was this why he demanded in his May speech that Israel push back to the 1967 borders, which would include preventing the Jews to worship at the Kotel? Is he aware of the fact that Arab Israelis live and work in Jerusalem today? Is he aware that all religions visit Jerusalem's holy sites, which would not be possible under Arab rule?! How is it that any nation can determine what another nation considers to be their "Capital"? Should Israel announce that Washington, DC is NOT the capital of these United States? How is it that Israel is the only country in this world that is NOT allowed to determine where their capital will be situated?
4. Is anyone aware of the fact that last year our State Department gave permission to the Palestinians to fly their flag in Washington, DC while claiming it does not give legitimacy to the Palestinian Authority? Are we all deaf, dumb and blind? Can't anyone see the agenda and bias of the Obama Administration? He ignored letters from Congress requesting that he not allow this flag to fly - went ahead, as usual, and did what he feels is appropriate in support of the Arabs, while insulting Israel. Insulting? Of course, since the Palestinian Authority is now united with Hamas and they are not a recognized "State" - they are not a government; they are an off-shoot of Arafat's PLO's and changing the name of one's organization does not change an organization's "Charter". The Fatah/Hamas Charter's refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist and call the Israeli's "occupiers" of the land of Israel. What doesn't Obama understand about the Middle Eastern Arab's sole intentions towards Israel?
5. Getting back to this latest attempt to insult Israel, this travel warning to not only Gaza and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), it includes Jerusalem. Jerusalem, where hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world visit yearly. This is nothing more than a "push" against the wall to Israel. It lumps Israel in the same pod with the Arab Spring riots of other Muslim nations. It gives a false sense of insecurity to United States citizens planning a tour of Jerusalem and Israel.
I have a question for Obama and his entire administration. If it is "unsafe" to visit Israel, then how is it Obama continues to ignore the murders and rocket attacks from Gaza and the Palestinians towards Israeli citizens? How is it he rewards them with flags flying in Washington, DC, while placing not only them, but all of Israel on a "Warning" list?
We have an administration talking with same Taliban that attacked our shores on 9/11. We have an announcement last week from the Secy. of State, Clinton, that this administration is willing to sit down and talk with the Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt. While we fight with these same terrorists all over the world, Obama undermines our very allies while holding discussions and supporting financially the very groups who are America's sworn enemies. Enemies against all the West stands for; burning our flag; making threats against America and following through with their threats; and I ask, is this a double-standard and is America weakened by bowing to the very folks that wish us nothing but death, or Sharia law?
Congress has suggested that they stop aiding the Palestinians if they unite with Hamas. They have united (in May) and yet, we hear no more about withholding funds to terrorist organizations. Why?
Since when does the USA place its ally on the "DANGEROUS" list of places to travel, when it is the surrounding Arab Muslim nations that are purely not safe for anyone at this present time. If the United States recognizes Gaza as an unsafe place to visit, including the West Bank Palestinian Authority, than perhaps Israel should stop aiding Gaza. But what about the U.S. supporting the Palestinians/Hamas unity, by continuing its military training of the Fatah in the West Bank and Jordan? Is this another double-standard of this administration?
Israel has approximately 15-20% Arab Israeli citizenship. To-date, the United States is bringing in thousands of Arab Muslims from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and other Muslim nations - many are granted U.S. citizenship, while we are continuing a War on Terror in Muslim nations. Does this mean the U.S. should put itself on the list of dangerous places to visit? How about those Terrorist training camps in the U.S. - to the tune of about 35 camps - does that make the U.S. a terrorist nation? Why is it being allowed within our borders? What about the Muslim organizations with ties to Hamas - according to the FBI list and yet, they are allowed to proper and grow within our borders - with no mention of treason for supporting terrorists listed on our Federal Government documents?
The State of Israel needs to contact the US State Department and clear up any and all misconceptions about this latest attempt to prevent American citizens from visiting peaceful Israel. Israel is a democracy, an ally of the U.S., with the same yearning for peace as we have, here in America. Being attacked by terrorists does not make a country a "terrorist" nation, anymore than the United States became a terrorist country when attacked by 19 Muslims on September 11th.
I would suggest that anyone supporting Israel contact their local Representatives and suggest that this "audacity" cease and desist immediately!
Meanwhile, here's a little video about that Audacity of Hope ship that sits in the waters of Greece: