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Easing of Restrictions in Entry and Exit to/from Israel to Palestinians-American Citizens

As part of talks between Israel and the United States regarding the exemption from visa requirements for Israelis seeking to enter the United States, Israel has committed to allow all American citizens – including those of Palestinian residency – to enter and exit its territory freely and equally. Directives introducing changes to this field have recently been published.

Up until recently, Israel had treated Palestinian Americans in the same manner as it had treated all other Palestinians with respect to the entering and exiting Israel. Namely, their Palestinian status was considered the only relevant factor and, as Palestinians, they were forbidden from entering or exiting Israel through Israel's main international airport (Ben Gurion Airport). In addition, their entry into Israel from the West Bank was also subject to limitations.

Several significant measures easing restrictions on Palestinians holding US citizenship have now been put in place. First, Palestinians Americans will be allowed to enter/exit Israel through Ben Gurion International Airport solely on the basis of their American passport and without being required to receive a prior permit. Upon entering Israel they will receive a tourist (B/2) visa for a three-month period. Second, Palestinian Americans who reside in the West Bank will be able to update their passport details through the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories' (COGAT) app and then file a request for a tourist entry permit into Israel. This permit too will be given for a three-month period. Third, Palestinian Americans residing in the Gaza Strip will be able to travel abroad through Israel as well as the Allenby Crossing (but not through Ben Gurion Airport) for any purpose, subject to filing a prior request and exiting through an arranged shuttle. Fourth, American Citizens (including Israelis) will be able to visit first degree family relatives in the Gaza Strip, without being required to comply with specific criteria regarding grounds for entry (death/marriage/illness of the relative). Children below age 12 will also be approved for such entry.

In addition to these measures, the guidelines establish and that US citizens who further hold Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese or Syrian citizenship will also be allowed to enter Israel through Ben Gurion International Airport and receive a three-month tourist visa, despite Israeli law forbidding the citizens of these countries from entering Israel.

If you are interested in legal assistance on this topic, representation in receiving a permit for entry into Israel or representation in case of refusal for such a permit, you are welcome to contact our office.


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