(WASHINGTON) — One day after blocking two congresswomen from visiting Israel, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has been approved to make a visit to her grandmother in the Israeli-occupied West Bank — but only as a “humanitarian visit.”
Israel had told Tlaib, as well as fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Thursday they would not be allowed to visit the country due to their outspoken support for the “boycott, sanctions and divestment” movement.
Both women are Muslim and vocal supporters of the Palestinians. Israeli officials said they would only be able to visit if willing to pledge they would do so as “humanitarians” and not speak out against Israel.
Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, sent a letter to government officials late Thursday, which was approved Friday, the Israeli Interior Ministry said in a statement.
“Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided on Friday to approve the entry of US Congresswoman Rashida Talib on a humanitarian visit of her 90-year-old grandmother,” the statement reads. “Congresswoman Talib sent a letter to Minister Deri tonight pledging to accept Israel’s demands, respecting the restrictions imposed on her during the visit, and promising not to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit. In light of this, and in accordance with his commitment yesterday, Minister Deri decided to allow her entry into Israel and expressed hope that her commitment and visit would indeed be for humanitarian purposes only.”
Omar is still banned from visiting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter Thursday that Israel is “open to any critic and criticism, with one exception: Israel’s law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel.”
President Donald Trump voiced his support for Netanyahu and the ban both in an interview prior to traveling to New Hampshire for a Thursday night rally, and on social media.
“Well, I’m only involved from the standpoint of they are very anti-Jewish and they’re very anti-Israel,” Trump said before departing New Jersey for New Hampshire. “I think it’s disgraceful, the things they said. … What they’ve said about Israel and Jewish people is a horrible thing, and they’ve become the face of the Democrats Party.”
“I can’t imagine why Israel would let them in,” he added.
While he made no mention of Tlaib at the rally, he did briefly criticize Omar.
Tlaib and Omar are both freshmen representatives and the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Grouped with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., the four has been called the “Squad.”
Ironically, the four women became the targets of Trump’s racist Twitter attacks last month when he urged them to “go back” to the countries where they came from, although only Omar was born outside the United States.
Tlaib’s mother was born in the West Bank city of Ramallah, while her father was born in East Jerusalem. Her parents eventually immigrated to Detroit, where she was born.
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