Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Rice taking notice of 'challenge'

By Amira Hass

"Over the past few days, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her department have commented several times on Israel's restrictions on the entry of Palestinian-Americans. At a press briefing on October 12, for instance, her spokesman, Sean McCormack, said that she intends to raise this issue in her talks with Israeli officials.

On October 11, speaking at the Inaugural Gala of the American Task Force on Palestine, Rice told an audience that included senators, diplomats and members of the Palestinian-American community that she is aware of the "challenge" facing Palestinian-Americans who travel to the territories frequently and invest their "time, ... knowledge, and ... capital" there. "I will continue to do everything in my power to support your good work, and to ensure that all American travelers receive fair and equal treatment," Rice said.

According to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, there are 35,000 U.S. citizens living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. However, there are no figures on how many of these also have Palestinian residency status"

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