Tlaib won't go to West Bank after all, citing 'oppressive' restrictions

Cheryl Sanders
August 17, 2019

In a reversal, Tlaib rejected the conditions laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the humanitarian visit, namely, that she not broadcast her support for boycotting Israel over its actions against Palestinians during her stay.

"The Israeli government used my love and desire to see my grandmother to silence me and made my ability to do so contingent upon my signing a letter", she said, referring to the Israeli demand she enter on humanitarian grounds.

Tlaib and Omar are strong critics of Israel and its policies toward Palestinians.

"Last night, she sent me a letter asking to allow her to visit her 90-year-old grandmother, 'because this could be my last chance to meet her, '" Deri said.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib's grandmother said she doesn't understand why her granddaughter was barred from entering Israel - and that she is proud of her pro-Palestinian stance.

Sen. Bernie Sanders told MSNBC Thursday night that perhaps Israel should not be receiving billions of dollars in USA military aid after the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred Reps.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and has for decades built settlements considered illegal under global law. But the decision to refuse entry to Ilhan Omar, and to offer Rashida Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, entry only on humanitarian grounds and with conditions, is an unprecedented step which has rightly provoked widespread alarm in both the United States and Israel. The government later opened the door to a "humanitarian visit" to allow Tlaib to visit with family, which would have banned her from the original trip schedule outside of family visits.

"Let's be clear: the goal of our trip was to witness firsthand what is happening on the ground in Palestine and hear from stakeholders - our job as Members of Congress. But since we were unable to fulfill our role as legislators, I am sharing what we would have seen", Omar wrote. Israel's decision sparked widespread criticism, including from Israeli and Jewish organizations who said it was an affront to USA institutions to bar the entry of members of Congress, according to the Associated Press.

Trump also added, "Like it or not, Tlaib and Omar are fast becoming the face of the Democrat Party".

"Denying visits to duly elected Members of Congress is not consistent with being either an ally or a democracy. We should be leveraging that [US] aid [to Israel] to stop the settlements and ensure full rights for Palestinians", Omar said. Barring members of Congress from seeing it does not make it go away. "We must end it-together". Asked later if he had spoken to Netanyahu, he said, "I did talk to people over there, " but he declined to say to whom.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri in a Friday tweet accused Tlaib of being overcome by hate.

"Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me".

Appearing on "America's Newsroom", Rouda told co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith that he was "very disappointed" in President Donald Trump.

"The plan of the two Congresswomen is only to damage Israel and to foment against Israel", Netanyahu said.

Tlaib's delegation was expected to focus in part on human rights issues in the Palestinian territories. The president wrote that the pair "hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds".

He said "it would show great weakness" for Israel to allow them into the country.

Both Tlaib and Omar have repeatedly denounced antisemitism, among other forms of racism.

More than 600,000 Israeli live in the settlements, alongside almost three million Palestinians, in uneasy proximity throughout the West Bank and occupied east Jerusalem. Tlaib said it may be the last time she sees her grandmother.

Other reports by iNewsToday