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US Congresswoman Rejects Israel’s Conditions for Visiting West Bank

US Congresswoman Rejects Israel’s Conditions for Visiting West Bank

Friday, 16 August, 2019 - 09:45
US President Donald Trump, US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are seen in a combination from file photos. REUTERS/File Photos
Asharq Al-Awsat

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib rejected on Friday Israel's offer to allow her to visit her grandmother in the West Bank after the Jewish state said earlier that she would be allowed to visit the occupied territory on humanitarian grounds.


On Thursday, Israel rejected a visit by the US Congress' first two Muslim women lawmakers, Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, on the grounds that they support a boycott of the country over its treatment of the Palestinians, and after President Donald Trump urged Israel to block them.


But early Friday, Israel reversed course on Tlaib, saying she could visit her grandmother in the West Bank, on the grounds that the 43-year-old first-term congresswoman agree to not promote a boycott against Israel.


"When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions," Tlaib wrote Friday.


"I can't allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies," she said, referring to her grandmother.


"Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me."


Tlaib and Omar have voiced support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement over Israel's policies toward Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Under Israeli law, BDS backers can be denied entry to Israel.


Tlaib had sent a letter to Israel's Ministry of Interior on Thursday requesting permission "to visit relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s", adding that it "could be my last opportunity to see her".


"I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit," Tlaib wrote in the request, which was circulated by the Israeli media.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he would not allow Tlaib and Omar to make a planned trip to Israel.


His decision came shortly after Trump tweeted that "it would show great weakness" if Israel allowed them to visit. "They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds." He went on to call the two congresswomen "a disgrace."


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