Write to your Congressman / Congresswoman (Template text)
Action you can take
Dear [Representative or Senator] [Insert Full Name of Congressperson]
As a constituent of your [district/state], [option to add a thank you for demonstrated support of senator or representative in human rights or civil liberties issues]. I am writing to you to request your immediate intervention regarding my human right to live in union and free from interference with my Palestinian born spouse and children in the West Bank. [My spouse/children are US citizens] As you may be aware, the Israeli government controls entry and exit into the West Bank. In the last _ year(s), the Israeli authorities have not issued me/ restricted me the requisite visas/permits to stay in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), in particular in the West Bank…click for the full text
Third states maintaining friendly relations with Israel command the standing to challenge the arbitrary exclusion of their nationals from the oPt. They also have an obligation to scrutinize Israel’s exercise of authority as an occupying power and to oppose arbitrary denials of entry and residency that harm Palestinian family life, educational, religious and social service institutions, businesses and socio-economic development more broadly.
Third states are urged to:
1. Ensure Israeli implementation of the rights to family unity and family reunification and the establishment of clear and transparent procedures for foreign nationals seeking to reside in the oPt, in keeping with international law.
– obtain Israeli cancellation of the stipulation by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) that foreigners are restricted to a 27-month, single entry, maximum stay
– demand Israel’s adoption and implementation of a clear, transparent policy for issuing multiple entry residency permits to foreign nationals
2. Call for an immediate halt to Israel’s arbitrary and abusive practice of denying entry to foreign nationals travelling to the oPt.
– demand Israel’s adoption and implementation of a clear, transparent policy for unhindered access to the oPt by foreign nationals
– obtain explicit assurances that people who have previously been denied entry will be permitted to re-enter the oPt
– demand an end the practice of issuing permits that restrict exit and re-entry
– demand an end the practice of issuing permits of less than three months to those travelling to the oPt
– demand that Israel cease the collective punishment of those whose relatives may have “overstayed” their original visa duration
3. Apply vigorous scrutiny to cases of denied entry and denied residency in the oPt with a view to promoting Israel’s adoption and transparent application of principles consistent with the internationally accepted rights and obligations of an occupying power.
– set up clear mechanisms for citizens to report and appeal cases of denied entry
– set up clear mechanisms for liaising with Israeli authorities to ensure safe passage to the oPt for all citizens and ensure the prompt and proper resolution of cases where safe passage has been hindered
– insist on receiving a formal explanation of each decision taken by Israel to bar any of their citizens from the oPt
– object to all arbitrary denials of entry and residency that harm Palestinian family life, educational, health and social service institutions and businesses and act to resolve all such cases of exclusion.
4. Respect the duty of all states not to acquiesce to internationally unlawful acts, bearing in mind that failing to object to prima facie unlawful acts or policies when notified of them implies accepting them as lawful.
5. Promote Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law with appropriate and effective tools of persuasion and dissuasion. Take appropriate measures based on reciprocity to ensure that the correct treatment accorded to Israel nationals seeking to enter third countries is reciprocated by correct treatment of their nationals seeking to enter Israel or the oPt.
Concerned individuals and organizations are called on to intensify their efforts to hold the governments of Israel, third states and the Palestinian National Authority to their respective obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
1. Send a letter to Israeli, UN, the Quartet Representative’s Office and your government representatives, documenting your case and emphasizing the need to obtain clear assurances from Israel that persons carrying foreign passports will not be arbitrarily denied safe and secure passage to the oPt and that all foreign citizens seeking entry will be treated with dignity and respect.
2. Write your local press protesting Israel’s unlawful policy of entry denials by telling your personal story and the impact it has had on you, your loved ones, your business, your organisation, etc.
3. Update the Campaign on your experience. Updated and reliable information about how entry denials (whether recent or past) continue to affect individuals, families and the general welfare of the Palestinian people in the oPt is essential to effectively combat Israel’s policies. Even if you wish to keep your information confidential, it helps the Campaign to have documentation and statistics to establish trends and report impact. If you’ve attempted / been successful in returning, let us know. If you haven’t tried, let us know why and under what conditions you might try to return.
Fill out the Campaign’s denial of entry form and contribute to the Campaign’s efforts to document and defeat Israel’s unlawful policy of restricting entry into the oPt. US citizens are also encouraged to report to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. For questions or assistance in taking action, please contact Christina Zola from AAI at 202.429.9210, Fahed Al-Rawaf from ADC at 202.244.2990 or Ghaith Al-Omari from ATFP at 202.887.0177
4. Encourage friends and family members affected by the policy to take action. The successful return of individuals previously denied entry and the unhindered entry of others was made possible by organized civic action involving a broad alliance of concerned individuals and organizations within the Palestinian, Israeli and international communities.