U.S. lawmaker Tlaib scraps West Bank trip over Israeli demands

Rep. Ilhan Omar D-Minn. left joined at right by Rep. Rashida Tlaib D-Mich. listen to President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech at the Capitol in Washington. Israel's prime minister is holdin

The pair were banned from visiting the country after President Donald Trump said Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would "show great weakness" if he allowed the congresswomen, who he claimed "hate Israel & all Jewish people", to enter the country.

Under a controversial Israeli law, backers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement can be denied entry to Israel.

Israel is now walking back its decision to deny Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib entry into its country. Israeli media reported that she had agreed not to promote boycotts against Israel as part of her request to Israel's Foreign Ministry.

But then the interior ministry released a letter "signed" by Tlaib in which she vowed not to advocate boycotts during her visit.

On Friday, Israel chose to allow Tlaib to visit family in the Israel-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds. "In light of this, and in accordance with his commitment yesterday, Minister Deri chose to allow her entry into Israel and expressed hope that her commitment and visit would indeed be for humanitarian purposes only".

GREENE: Well, so Israel initially said it wasn't going to block them from visiting.

"One thing that is completely undeniable about Bernie Sanders is the enormous political courage he consistently wields on behalf of others", tweeted Ocasio-Cortez. "It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the USA government", Omar said in a statement.

"It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit", he tweeted on Thursday.

In addition to leading Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York), the ban has also been condemned by leading pro-Israel groups such as AIPAC and Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Even the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, normally one of Mr Netanyahu's most loyal defenders and a critic of the two Democratic congresswomen over their remarks on Israel, attacked the decision.

Still, the grandmother is hopeful: "My heart tells me that she will come".

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On Thursday, Israeli occupation police killed a Palestinian teenager and seriously wounded another after they stabbed guards near Al-Quds Old City. Here's what she said.

Israel had approved an earlier request by Tlaib and Omar to visit the country.

'May God ruin him, ' scoffed Muftia Tlaib, 90, in an interview in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, appearing to blame Trump for her granddaughter's rejection of an Israeli visa to visit.

"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", Tlaib tweeted, using the word sity to refer to her grandmother.

The news service said the Democratic lawmakers discussed Saudi Arabia's denying entry in 1975 to Henry Waxman, a Jewish Democratic congressman from California, before relenting after State Department pressure.

While he made no mention of Tlaib at the rally, he did briefly criticize Omar. "This is how the US acted towards an Israeli Knesset member and other public figures in the world".

"It's all about the Benjamins baby", Ms Omar had tweeted in a reference to the United States $100 note, leading to allegations that she was using a negative stereotype for Jews. Many said that while they break with the two lawmakers on their anti-Israel positions, they fully oppose efforts to block sitting members of Congress from visiting an worldwide ally.

"They are duly elected members of Congress, I get that".

The Democratic leadership has echoed Trump's efforts to brand critics of Israel on the left as anti-Semites. "I think the proper response is the United States government should withdraw aid from Israel because it's enforcing an apartheid policy that is pretty clear in this banning".

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