US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib rejects Israel’s offer to visit on ‘humanitarian’ grounds

US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has rejected Israel’s offer to allow her to make a “humanitarian” visit to her grandmother in the occupied West Bank.

Ms. Tlaib said that she could not comply with the “oppressive conditions” being imposed.

A critic of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, she had been blocked by Israel from making an official visit. But it said a private visit could go ahead after she agreed “not to promote the boycott of Israel during her stay”.

Tlaib and fellow Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar had originally been due to make an official visit to the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Sunday.

However, under pressure from Donald Trump Israel denied permission for the visit to territory it controls.

A statement from the Israeli interior ministry on Thursday confirmed the entry ban, saying it was “inconceivable that those who wish to harm the state of Israel while visiting would be granted entry”.

Ms. Tlaib and Ms. Omar have voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign – which aims to put economic pressure on the Israeli government – because of their opposition to Israel’s policies towards Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The entry ban was widely criticised – including by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group.

Israel’s interior ministry later said it had given Ms. Tlaib permission for what it termed a humanitarian visit to family after she had promised in a letter to “respect conditions imposed by Israel”.

But she categorically rejected Israel’s offer – even though it meant she would not see her grandmother.

Source : Various