American Passports: Not Good Enough For Israe

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Posted by Jeff from ( on Sunday, June 23, 2002 at 9:35PM :

Just something that I found on the net:

** One would think that the Israelis would not violate the human rights of US citizens. After all... who gives them billions each year in aid?

American Passports: Not Good Enough For Israel

Below please find 14 reported cases of US citizens of Palestinian origin who were visiting Israel

and/or the Palestinian Occupied Territories. These cases demonstrate

the denial of US citizens of Palestinian origin the use of their

American passports while departing the State of Israel, while other

examples illustrate detentions and the use of torture by Israeli

security officials of US citizens. All of the cases have been monitored

by Partners For Peace and ADC. Many of the US citizens have been forced

to remain in Israel against their will.

1. JAMIL SARSOUR - Born January 7, 1951 in Palestine. He was detained

October 23, 1998 at the Tel Aviv Airport. He was 47 years old. The

Israeli authorities never notified his family of his detention, nor did

they inform the American Consulate. When his family finally learned of

his detention, they notified the American Consulate. No family member

was allowed to see him for 101 days (during which time he was

tortured). His attorney was allowed to see him after approximately 60

days and was not allowed to meet with him in private. He was accused

of transferring money to "illegal organizations." Mr. Sarsour continued

to deny these allegations. In addition to being interrogated by the

Israeli Shin Bet, he was interrogated by an FBI agent, CIA agent, a

District Attorney from Milwaukee, a District Attorney from Chicago, and

a person working on anti-terrorism issues in Washington. No concern has

yet been expressed about his mistreatment and detention.

Status: Imprisoned at Ashkelon Prison

Home State: Wisconsin

2. AMJAD AHMAD FARAH KUR'AN - Born November 11, 1977 in Youngstown,

Ohio. He was detained at a checkpoint between Ramallah and Birzeit on

June 2, 1998 when he was 20 years old. He was only a few months short

of receiving his Bachelor's degree from Birzeit University. During his

detention, he was tortured with "the chair," and deprived of sleep and

adequate food, in addition to being held in filthy conditions. He

alleges that Israeli officials threw hot water on him, pulled his hair,

and threatened to pull out his fingernails. He claims that he

confessed to allegations under severe torture because "he could not

stand it anymore." He lost 15 pounds in one month. He has been moved

from one prison to another, making it difficult for his family to know

where he is located at any given time. Family visitation is rarely

allowed. The detainees at Megiddo Prison depend upon their families for

food to supplement the meager allowances provided by the Israeli

security guards.

Status: Imprisoned at Megiddo Prison

Home State: Ohio

3. LUAY QASAM ABDEL JABER - Born August 26, 1979 in Chicago,

Illinois. Mr. Jaber was detained at the Tel Aviv airport while

departing Israel to return to the United States on May 15, 1999. He was

19 years old at that time and was an electrical engineering student

attending Birzeit University. He was arrested and accused of belonging

to an Islamic organization at Birzeit University in 1996 even though he

was not enrolled as a student at the University at that time. He was

released from prison on July 14, 1999 after his family paid a bond of

10,000 shekels, yet he is still not allowed to leave Israel. His

senator was alerted to Mr. Jaber's case and although the case is still

pending, the Department of State informed the senator that the case was

closed. Mr. Jaber's court dates have been continuously postponed and he

has not yet been tried. He is not allowed to leave the State of


Status: Released from prison, charges pending with no trial, not

allowed to return to the US.

Home State: Illinois

4. HANNA ABU KHDEIR - Born January 5, 1971 in Jerusalem. Ms. Khdeir

is currently 30 years old. She immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland in 1988

and became a naturalized citizen in 1990. She attended high school and

college in the US. The "Shabak" secret police arrested her in her

mother's home at midnight on March 12, 2001. After her arrest, she was

taken to the Moscobiya (Russian Compound prison) where she was placed in

a cell, two meters long and one and one-half meters wide with a hole in

the floor for a toilet. During her interrogation, Ms. Abu Khdeir was

cuffed to a chair and subjected to sleep deprivation. According to Ms.

Khdeir the cell "was full of small bugs, two dirty blankets, a bucket of

water, and one cup to drink from and wash." Her interrogation lasted

for three and one-half days continuously without any sleep. She lost 8

kilograms (17.6 pounds) in 10 days and developed a terrible rash. The

Israeli government did not inform the US Consulate of her arrest. Her

attorney, Leah Tsemel, was refused permission to see her for several

days. The American consular representative visited her after Leah

Tsemel made a formal request to the Consul.

Status: No charges, still held under the following conditions: not

allowed to leave the country, US passport remains confiscated, must

report to police headquarters twice a week, and must appear for

questioning when summoned.

Home State: Maryland

5. ABBAS FAWAZ NA'ORA - Born February 24, 1981 to an American citizen

in Jerusalem. He was detained at a military checkpoint on February 28,

1998 while riding a school bus (he was sixteen years old). His family

was never notified by the Israeli authorities of his detention. When

the family sought the help of the American Consulate General they were

told there was nothing the Consulate could do. Under torture (including

being kicked in the genitals) he signed a document in Hebrew (which he

cannot read) and was sent to Megiddo Prison near Haifa. He was

sentenced to 30 months in jail on charges of belonging to Hamas. The

sentence was based solely on his signed "confession." His sentence

ended in September 2000. It was reported that he was placed in solitary

confinement in the "coffin" without cause.

Status: Was imprisoned in Megiddo Prison - current status unknown

Home State: Georgia

6. STEVE ADAMS (born Mohamad Blata) - Mr. Adams, a naturalized

American citizen, was born in Egyptian administered Gaza. He is

currently 39 years old. He received his college education in Ohio. He

is also married to a native-born American citizen and has five

American-born children. Mr. Adams was detained on December 27, 2000

when attempting to board a plane at the Gaza Airport bound for Dubai,

where he is employed as an engineer. After his arrest, he was taken to

Ashkelon Prison where he was interrogated and tortured. After being

held for more than one month, he was taken to the Erez border crossing

on February 1, 2001 and ejected into Gaza. He was never charged with a

crime by Israeli officials. US officials did nothing to assist him.

Status: Released February 1, 2001 with no charges

Home State: Ohio

7. ANWAR HAMDAN - Born January 27, 1960 in the United States. Mr.

Hamdan is married and is the father of five children. His wife is a

naturalized American citizen. Since 1993, he has continuously

experienced harassment and even detention for as long as 9 months. He

travels frequently to Israel en route to the West Bank to care for

family business in the West Bank. He was detained on June 4, 1999 when

he arrived at Tel Aviv Airport with his four-year-old son. He was then

39 years old. US officials did nothing to assist him.

Status: Released without charges

Home State: Louisiana

8. YOUSUF MAREI - Born June 15, 1955 in Maithaloom near Jenin, West

Bank. He is a naturalized American citizen and was 44 years old at the

time of his detention. He was detained on April 26, 1999 at the

Jordanian border while crossing to the West Bank to visit his aging

parents. His wife was with him at the time. The American Consul

visited him on approximately the second day of his detention and at the

request of Marei asked that he be provided with clean clothes and a

shower. The US Consul however stated that there was nothing else he

could do. He was held in filthy cells, isolated, interrogated, and

tortured but refused to sign a confession. On June 2, 1999, he was

ejected from Israel without being allowed to visit his 90-year-old


Status: Released without charges after 40 days of torture

Home State: Illinois

9. ANWAR MOHAMED - Born October 1, 1971 to American citizens in Silwad,

West Bank. Mr. Mohamed owns and manages a restaurant in Miami Beach.

He was detained on October 28, 1998 at the Jordanian border after he

visited an aunt and cousins in Silwad and was en route to Amman to visit

his sister. His location remained hidden from his family for five

days and no notification was given to the US government by the Israeli

authorities of his whereabouts. He was severely tortured for 40 days

but steadfastly refused to sign a confession. He was released December

7, 1998 and was allegedly told, "You are free to go. Don't cause us any

trouble." He lost 40 pounds during his incarceration. He was also

required by the Israeli government to obtain a Palestinian passport in

order to leave the country. Israel refused to recognize his American

passport. The American Consulate General did nothing to challenge this

action. Mr. Mohamed had never had an Israeli nor Palestinian

identification and did not want to obtain a Palestinian passport.

Status: Released December 7, 1998 - no charges were filed.

Home State: Florida

10. HASHEM MUFLEH -- Born July 17, 1980 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He is a third generation American. He was detained August 18, 1998 at

Tel Aviv Airport and tortured for 10 days. He was also threatened with

rape and sodomy. Mr. Mufleh was sentenced by a military judge to three

years in prison without evidence or witnesses on charges of belonging to

an illegal organization, distributing religious literature at his

school, and throwing stones during the Intifada. US Consular officials

did nothing to assist him.

Status: Released in July 1999

Home State: New Mexico

11. KATERINA ARAMAN - Born in Birzeit in 1960 and emigrated to the

United States in 1977, Ms. Araman has been living in the United States

continuously since then. She obtained her US citizenship in 1988. She

is married to the Head of Security Services at Notre Dame University who

is also an American citizen. They have three American-born children.

She went to Birzeit in January 2001 to attend her mother's funeral,

taking her four-year-old daughter with her. She entered Israel on her

American passport and, as usual, obtained a "slip visa." When she was

ready to leave the country, the slip visa was seized by Israeli

officials and she was told that she must get a Palestinian passport and

an Israeli exit visa. Thereafter, Israeli officials repeatedly delayed

issuing an exit visa. The violence in the area made it a very

frightening situation for Katerina. After considerable American media

exposure about her situation, the exit visa was finally issued. US

Consulate officials cited Israeli law and did nothing when Katerina

contacted them for assistance.

Status: Exit visa issued March 1, 2001

Home State: Indiana

12. MOHAMMED SARSOUR - Born January 22, 1960. He is a US citizen.

Mr. Sarsour was detained by Israeli Army personnel at the Allenby Bridge

crossing point between the West Bank and Jordan on December 22, 1999

when traveling with his two young daughters (ages 12 and 13). They were

en route to a family wedding in Amman, Jordan. His daughters were also

interrogated and intimidated by eight heavily armed soldiers after

waiting for about four hours. The girls were eventually taken to see

their father and Mr. Sarsour broke down and begged the soldiers not to

hurt them. The soldiers took 370 shekels from him, gave the money to

the two children, and told them to go home. The girls were released at

2:00 a.m. They found an Israeli taxi driver who accepted their money

and took them to Ramallah. The US Consulate did nothing to assist

either Mr. Sarsour or his daughters.

Status: Released in February 2000

Home State: Wisconsin

13. BISHAR SAIDI - Born December 25, 1966 in Sorzol, Lebanon. He is a

naturalized American citizen and an electrical engineer. He was

detained on the eve of December 25, 1997 while attending a Christmas

dinner in the Galilee, Israel. The family immediately notified the

American Embassy, but the Consul was denied access to visitation for

some time. Mr. Bishar was accused of conducting intelligence

activities. He was told that his pregnant wife was being interrogated

and that her baby would be aborted if he did not confess. He was

tortured in particularly odious ways, including being denied the use of

a toilet for about five days. The American Consul saw him at this time

and left because he could not stand the odor. He was denied both

medication and a Bible. His lawyer re

-- Jeff
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