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Israel un-bans Rep. Rashida Tlaib and now she’s refusing to visit ailing grandmother

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, will be allowed to enter the Israeli-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds. (Tanya Moutzalias |
August 16, 2019

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib said she won’t visit her ailing grandmother in Israel despite the nation granting her a waiver after its initial ban.

Israel had banned Tlaib along with Rep. Ilhan Omar on Thursday, but changed course early Friday when they issued a humanitarian waiver to Tlaib to permit her to visit with her grandmother, but the congresswoman said it is too late.

“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice,” Tlaib tweeted Friday morning.

“When I won, it gave the Palestinian people hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions. 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 had tweeted earlier.

“My sity wanted to pick figs w/ me. I broke down reading this & worry every single day after I won for my family’s safety. My cousin was texting me which photo of @IlhanMN & I they should put on a welcoming poster when I heard the news. I couldn’t tell her,” Tlaib tweeted earlier, referencing a news story on her family’s disappointment over Israel’s ban.

After the ban, Israel informed Tlaib she could apply for a humanitarian waiver to visit her grandmother.

“If Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted.

Tlaib did just that, sending a letter to Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, in which she requested permission to visit her grandmother in the West Bank.

“This could be my last opportunity to see her,” Tlaib wrote of her grandmother, according to Fox News. “I will respect any restrictions and I will not promote any boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

Israel’s decision to ban the congresswomen came on Thursday.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely had appeared on Israel’s Reshet Radio on Thursday and said, “The decision has been made, the decision is not to allow them to enter,” in reference to Tlaib and Omar, as Reuters first reported.

Hotovely did not initially specify an official reason for the bans.

Netanyahu released a series of 10 tweets explaining the action. In those tweets, Netanyahu explained that Israeli law may prohibit entry to those supporting anti-Israel boycotts and sanctions (BDS), and the congresswomen were barred on those grounds.

“Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy,” one of Netanyahu’s tweets said.

“In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel,” he added.

It’s unclear whether or not Tlaib could change course and follow through with her previously planned visit.