Jerusalem: Israel said on Friday it has granted a request by Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib to enter the West Bank on humanitarian grounds to visit her relatives, a day after Israel barred her and another congresswoman following an unprecedented request from President Donald Trump.
Tlaib and fellow Democrat, Representative Ilhan Omar, had planned to visit Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank next week on a tour partly organised by a Palestinian group. The two are outspoken critics of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and support the international movement boycotting Israel.
Israel controls entry and exit points to the West Bank, which it seized in the 1967 Mideast war along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories the Palestinians want for a future state.
On Friday, Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri announced the latest twist — that Tlaib had requested and been granted permission to enter the West Bank to see relatives, including her 90-year-old grandmother. The American-born Tlaib’s family immigrated from the West Bank.
Deri’s office published what it said was Tlaib’s written request, on congressional stationary dated Thursday, in which she said she wanted to visit her grandmother, who is in her 90s.
“This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit,” she said.
Shortly after the announcement, however, Tlaib tweeted that she wouldn’t allow Israel to use her love for her grandmother to force her to “bow down to their oppressive & racist policies.”
It was not clear if she was rejecting the offer to visit.