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US Monitors Israeli Border Crossing Pilot for Palestinian Americans

(JNS) A U.S. delegation was in Israel this week to observe border crossing conditions for Palestinian Americans.

The inspections are part of an Israeli bid to join the U.S. Visa Waiver Program and are taking place during a six-week pilot program launched on July 20 to show that all American citizens are treated equally during security checks—a key demand from Washington.

A State Department and Homeland Security Department delegation visited Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday, July 31 and were scheduled to tour crossings into the Yehuda and Shomron region as well, four officials told Reuters.

The officials were there to monitor whether Arab Americans are subjected to “selective grilling” by border control officers.

Reuters reported positive reactions to the pilot program so far, which eases travel restrictions for Palestinian dual-nationals living in Yehuda and Shomron—allowing them to travel through Ben-Gurion Airport instead of using land crossings with Jordan and flying in and out of Amman.

If U.S. authorities deem the pilot program successful, Israeli citizens will be able to visit the U.S. without a visa as of October. The deadline for a decision on visa-free U.S. travel for Israelis is Sept. 30.

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