Israel decides to let Rep. Rashida Tlaib enter the country on humanitarian grounds, despite pressure from Trump to bar her

  • Israel said it will let Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib into the country enter the country to visit her elderly grandmother, despite US President encouraging the country to ban her.
  • Israel said it would not let Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar, who have both criticized the Israeli governments’ treatment of Palestinians, into the country.
  • Trump had also said they should not be let in, saying Israel would “show great weakness” if it allowed the lawmakers to enter. The move was widely decried, even by powerful pro-Israel groups in the US.
  • Israel partially reversed course on Friday and said Tlaib could enter on humanitarian grounds. Tlaib said she would respect any restrictions and will not promote any boycotts against Israel during my visit.”
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Israel has said that it will allow Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib into the country, even after US President Donald Trump publicly urged the Israeli government to bar her.

On Friday morning Israel’s Interior Minister, Aryeh Deri, said he would approve a request Tlaib made to enter on humanitarian grounds though Israel had previously said she would be banned,according to a statement reported by the Washington Post and Reuters.

Tlaib is a Detroit native and her family is from Palestine, where her 90-year-old grandmother lives.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Tlaib referred to her grandmother in her application, saying: “This could be my last opportunity to see her.”

Read more: Trump urged Israel to ban ‘Squad’ members Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country

The letter also said: “I will respect any restrictions and will not promote any boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

Rashida Tlaib.Reuters

It is an apparent reversal from the Israeli government position on Thursday, when deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely said that both Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar would be denied entry. One official then told The Washington Post that Tlaib might be able to enter on humanitarian grounds.

Both Tlaib and Omar, who represents a district in Minnesota, have supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish Israel economically for its treatment of the Palestinian people.

They had planned to visit Israel with Miftah, a non-profit organization.

Trump has targeted both Congresswomen over their criticisms of Israeli government policy, branding them as anti-Semitic.

He urged Isreal not to allow them into the countryin tweets on Thursday: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.

Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

“Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

Read more: The powerful pro-Israel lobby and leading Democrats tear into Trump for pressuring Israel to bar Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting

His statements were criticized by Democrats and even by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which lobbies the US government and advocates for a close relationship between the US and Israel.

AIPAC said it disagrees with Omar and Tlaib’s criticisms of Israel but said: “We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.”

Omar had criticized Isreal’s position has undemocratic.

“The irony of the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation,” she said in a statement.

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