August 18, 2015 - Attribution is on-the-record from Spokesperson John Kirby.
Question: There are reports that U.S. citizens have been denied entry into Israel and their U.S. passports have been confiscated until these individuals reach their destination outside of Israel. Has the United States raised this issue with the Israeli Government?
Answer: We are aware of reports that U.S. citizens were denied entry into Israel. We refer you to the Government of Israel for additional information on this case. The U.S. Government seeks equal treatment and freedom to travel for all U.S. citizens regardless of national origin or ethnicity. Specifically, the U.S. Government remains concerned at the unequal treatment that Palestinian-Americans and other Arab-Americans receive at Israel’s borders and checkpoints. We regularly raise with Israeli authorities concerns about the issue of equal treatment for all U.S. citizens at ports of entry.?
The State Department provides the following information on the State Department travel website:? The Government of Israel considers travelers who hold PA IDs, as well as persons believed to have claim to a PA ID by virtue of ancestry, to be Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza, regardless of whether they also hold U.S. citizenship. Israeli authorities consider anyone who has parents or grandparents who were born or lived in the West Bank or Gaza to have a claim to a PA ID. Palestinian nationals, including dual nationals, are required to enter the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan (also known as the King Hussein Bridge) using a PA travel document, rather than via Ben Gurion International Airport, unless they have obtained advance permission from an Israeli embassy or consulate on humanitarian or emergency grounds.