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Congresswoman won't visit West Bank under Israel's conditions

Congresswoman won't visit West Bank under Israel's conditions

Decision comes a day after Israel barred Rep. Rashida Tlaib under pressure from President Donald Trump
Congresswoman won't visit West Bank under Israel's conditions
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) gives a television interview in Washington, July 15, 2019.
Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

JERUSALEM — A day after barring Rep. Rashida Tlaib under pressure from President Donald Trump, Israel said Friday that she could visit her 90-year-old grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank, but only after she agreed in writing not to “promote boycotts against Israel” during her trip.

But after being criticized by some Palestinians and other opponents of the Israeli occupation, Tlaib, too, reversed course Friday, saying that she would not make the trip after all.

“Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me,” Tlaib said of her grandmother. “It would kill a piece of me.”

The announcement from Israel appeared to be a second shift in position by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli Interior Ministry initially approved a planned official visit by Tlaib, of Michigan, and another Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. But after a public objection by Trump, it blocked them, citing their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Tlaib had written to the Israeli interior minister, Aryeh Deri, appealing to be allowed to see her relatives, particularly her grandmother, who lives in a Palestinian village west of Ramallah.

“This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote on congressional letterhead. “I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

“In light of that,” Deri’s office said Friday, the minister decided to allow her into Israel and “expressed hope that she would keep her commitment and that the visit would truly be solely for humanitarian purposes.”

Late Friday, after Tlaib said she would cancel her trip, Deri said this showed that her intentions were “provocative” and “aimed at bashing the State of Israel.”

“Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother,” Deri wrote on Twitter.

Tlaib and Omar, along with Stacey Plaskett, the nonvoting congressional representative of the U.S. Virgin Islands, had planned a four-day fact-finding tour to examine the condition of Palestinians under Israel occupation.

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