Israel Grants Tlaib West Bank Visit on Humanitarian Grounds

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s interior minister said Friday he has received and granted a request by Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib to enter the Israeli-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds.

Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin, asked to visit her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank, Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement.

Deri’s office published what it said was Tlaib’s written request, on congressional stationary. In the letter, Tlaib said she would respect any restrictions and “not promote boycotts” during her visit.

The minister’s decision marked yet another reversal concerning the high-profile West Bank tour that had been planned by Tlaib and fellow Democrat, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

On Thursday, Israel had announced it was barring the two from entry — an unprecedented move targeting members of the U.S. Congress. Israel’s decision came after President Donald Trump said in a tweet it would show “weakness” to allow in the two Democrats who have been sharply critical of him and of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit Jerusalem and several West Bank cities, starting this weekend. Both are known as supporters of “boycott, divestment and sanctions,” or BDS, a Palestinian-led global movement. Israel alleges that BDS targets Israel’s very existence, while the movement’s supporters say it is intended as leverage to end more than half a century of Israeli military rule over Palestinians.

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