Rep. Tlaib cancels West Bank trip after Israel gives OK
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, said Friday that she had decided not to visit her grandmother in the West Bank after Israel granted her permission, describing the conditions placed on her visit as "oppressive."
"I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice," Tlaib tweeted Friday.
Israel earlier announced it had granted the permission.
"Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided on Friday to approve the entry of US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for a humanitarian visit of her 90-year-old grandmother," the interior ministry said in a statement Friday.
Her announcement came a day after Israel said it was barring Tlaib and fellow Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from visiting Israel and accused them of attempting to “boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy.”
The interior ministry said early Friday that Tlaib had sent a letter asking to be granted access in which she promised to not promote boycotts against Israel and to respect the restrictions imposed on her during her visit.
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Her request was granted and the interior ministry "expressed hope that she would honor her commitment."
Omar and Tlaib have previously voiced their support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, known as BDS and under Israeli law, supporters of the movement can be denied entry to Israel.
"Only a few days ago, we received their visitation plan, and it became clear that they were planning a campaign whose sole purpose was to strengthen the boycott and negate Israel's legitimacy," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, referring to BDS.
Several Israeli commentators criticized the condition placed on Tlaib's permission to enter the country, saying it was a reflection of the Israeli government's approach to Palestinian rights.
"Israelis have rights, Palestinians have needs," tweeted Israeli lawyer Daniel Seidemann, who focuses on the conflict in Jerusalem and was due to meet with the congresswomen during their trip.
"Israeli rights are inalienable; Palestinian needs are fulfilled by our magnanimity, a reward for 'good behavior,'" he added.
Haggai Matar, executive editor at +972 Magazine, said the notion that Israel was allowing Tlaib to visit her family as a "humanitarian" gesture was worse than the ban.
"We won't respect you as an independent political leader, as a US congresswoman, but you're welcome to beg for mercy like all Palestinians - is the message," he tweeted Friday.
Democratic lawmakers slammed Israel's decision Thursday to bar the lawmakers, warning that it could damage the U.S.-Israel relationship and accusing President Donald Trump of instigating the move. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the decision "a sad reversal" and "deeply disappointing."
Ahead of the Israeli government’s announcement, Trump tweeted that it would “show great weakness” if the country allowed the two to enter, later tweeting that "Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!"
It also sent shock waves throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories with many decrying the move.
Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian politician, called it an “outrageous act of hostility against the American people.”
"This is a dangerous precedent that defies all diplomatic norms and an assault on the Palestinian people’s right to engage with the rest of the world,” she said in a statement.
Israel's Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs tweeted Friday that barring the entry of the congresswomen to Israel was "just and proper" but that Tlaib's request to visit her grandmother "must be approved."
"Mainly in light of her commitment to respect Israeli law and not to promote boycotts against us," he said.
Yaakov Katz, the editor of the English-language newspaper The Jerusalem Post, criticized the decision to bar the lawmakers arguing that it was "cause damage for years to come."
"The county should let them in. It has nothing to hide," he tweeted.