Israeli officials have blocked the US representatives Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., from entering Israel. The US Reps had their visit planned when the Israeli officials blocked their entry. The decision was taken after President Trump himself pressurised and put his concerns about their support for Israel boycotts.
Although prior assurances were made that the congresswomen would be allowed in, Israeli deputy foreign minister announced the decision of not letting them in on Thursday. The change in decision is speculated to be motivated from President Trump publicly pressurizing Israel to do so.
He tweeted, “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
Upon the discussions of barring the congresswomen, various Israeli media reports reported that it is due to their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Reports say that Israeli Interior Minister Arey Deri had already made the decision of barring the congresswomen.
Haaretz reported that according to Israeli laws, those who support boycotts of the country can be denied entry. Waivers can be granted for diplomatic figures.
In July itself, Israel’s US ambassador said that the country would not block US lawmakers out of respect for Congress and Israel’s alliance with the US. Donald Trump expressed his frustration about the decision as reported by The Washington Post.
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The Post also reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu experienced pressure from US based Israel advocacy group and Democratic leaders who were advising the barring of congresswomen. Omar and Tlaib were scheduled to reach Israel on Friday. Israel was even worried about the congresswomen visiting the Temple Mount – the holiest site for Jews and third holiest for Muslims.
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