Israel grants permission to Rep. Rashida Tlaib to visit West Bank

(NBC News) — Israel has granted permission for Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, to visit her grandmother in the West Bank.

The decision comes the day after Israel said it was barring Tlaib and fellow Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from visiting Israel and accused them of attempting to “boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy.”

On Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed the Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s decision to block the lawmakers visit but said if Tlaib filed a “humanitarian request” to meet her family members, the interior minister would consider the request.

“Only a few days ago, we received their visitation plan, and it became clear that they were planning a campaign whose sole purpose was to strengthen the boycott and negate Israel’s legitimacy,” Netanyahu said, referring to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, known as BDS.

Omar and Tlaib have previously voiced their support for BDS and under Israeli law, supporters of the movement can be denied entry to Israel.

Netanyahu said at the time that the interior minister would consider her request on the condition that Tlaib committed to not promote the boycotts against Israel.

Democratic lawmakers slammed Israel’s decision Thursday, warning that it could damage the U.S.-Israel relationship and accusing President Donald Trump of instigating the move.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the decision “a sad reversal” and “deeply disappointing.”

Ahead of the Israeli government’s announcement, Trump tweeted that it would “show great weakness” if the country allowed the two to enter, later tweeting that “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!”

It also sent shock waves throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories with many decrying the move.

Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian politician, called it an “outrageous act of hostility against the American people.”

Ryan Haff

Ryan Haff

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