U.S. Pressures Israel to Sacrifice Security for Visa Waivers

(JNS) Jonathan S. Tobin - There's no use pretending that Israel's agreement to treat all U.S. passport holders in the same manner, rather than singling out those who are also Palestinian Arabs for special scrutiny, doesn't present genuine risks for the country's security. Making this change was the price Prime Minister Netanyahu had to pay in order to get the U.S. to change its own entry policies for Israeli citizens. Up until now, Israel was denied the visa waivers extended to 40 other countries. Now, those Palestinians with U.S. passports will have the same free entry to Israel and its international airport as other Americans, as will Palestinians with American citizenship currently living in terrorist-run Gaza. Israel and the U.S. have very real differences in their approach to security, especially concerning air travel. There is no question that an unwillingness to treat everyone the same is at the heart of Jerusalem's efforts to keep terrorists from boarding Israeli planes or entering the country. Israelis, as well as those who travel there regularly, are used to putting up with a great deal of security measures. But they largely accept it as a reasonable price to pay for safety. Israeli security personnel hone in on the people most likely to be terrorist suspects. Yet it's a mistake to assume that Israeli security is purely a matter of group profiling. To the contrary, Israel has long relied on sophisticated behavioral analysis, reading eye movements and body language as people respond to questions to try to filter out potential risks. But those tasked with defending Israel understand that members of groups that are broadly supportive of anti-Israel terror, like the Palestinians, have to be given more scrutiny than others, even if that might seem unfair to some peaceful individuals. The main thing is to make it harder for potential terrorists. It's possible that terror groups will take advantage of the situation by using those with American documents to commit some outrage. That's why the chiefs of the Israeli security agencies were reportedly opposed to the decision to bow to the American demand. The problem here is an American mindset that treats Israel's security concerns as less important than making a point about protecting Arab and Muslim Americans. Israel remains a nation under threat in a way that few Americans understand.

2023-08-10 00:00:00

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