Published: Sat, August 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

US Lawmaker Rejects Israel's "Oppressive Conditions" To Visit West Bank

US Lawmaker Rejects Israel's

President Donald Trump called on Thursday for Israel to bar the entry of two American congresswomen who had planned to visit the West Bank, in an extraordinary step to influence an allied nation and punish his political opponents at home.

Whether it's her relentless needling of the president, being told by Trump to "go back" to the "corrupt" country she came from despite being born in MI, or being barred from visiting Israel Thursday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Tlaib is a political lightning rod.

On Friday, Israel's interior ministry said it had given Ms Tlaib permission for what it termed a humanitarian visit to family after she had promised in a letter to "respect conditions imposed by Israel". But that belies a fiery voice which has often led her into controversy.

After the reversal, however, Tlaib announced her own U-turn, stating she would not go through with the visit under "oppressive conditions". "Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me - it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice".

He denied entry to the congresswomen on the basis of a law that allows authorities to ban advocates of the pro-Palestianian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, known as BDS. This is true of Trump's attacks against Omar, Tlaib and other representatives of color, and of Netanyahu's treatment of the Arab citizens of Israel and their Knesset representatives.

They had planned to tour East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, which Palestinians want for a state. They said their destination was "Palestine" and not 'Israel, ' and unlike all Democratic and Republican congressmen to this day, refrained from seeking a meeting with any Israeli official either in the government or the opposition. Tlaib's family immigrated to the U.S. from the West Bank.

"This could be my last opportunity to see her". Tlaib's office could not immediately be reached for comment on the letter's authenticity. Tlaib and Omar have made no secret of their support for BDS since they entered Congress, and just one month ago, Dermer said the two would be welcome in the country "out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America". "I can't allow the state of Israel to take away that right by humiliating me and use my love for my city to bow down to their oppressive and racist policies".

Bassam Tlaib, an uncle who lives in the West Bank, expressed support for her decision. "This would be a shameful, unprecedented move", she said on Twitter.

Sanders' appearance on MSNBC Thursday night was not the first time the senator has called out US military aid to Israel as the Netanyahu government enacts racist policies and commits atrocities against Palestinians. On Thursday afternoon, Tlaib wrote to Aryeh Deri, Israel's Interior Minister, requesting admission on humanitarian grounds.

But by and large, the caucus recognized that this time, when it came to this particular issue involving Israel, they were all on the same page.

On Thursday, following Israel's announcement that it was denying them entry, Tlaib called the move "a sign of weakness" while Omar said it was "an insult to democratic values" but unsurprising given the record of Netanyahu's policies against Palestinians and his alignment with "Islamophobes" like Trump.

Israeli rights human organisation B'Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad, who was due to meet the congresswomen on their visit to the occupied territories, said in an opinion piece for the Washington Post: "Restrictions on the movement of two United States lawmakers may be shocking, but it is a daily reality for the 2 million Palestinians caged on the Gaza Strip".

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