The controversial and now-canceled trip Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) planned to take to Israel is taking on a new twist after the Jewish state said it would not allow the pair to enter the country then, but then said Tlaib could visit her 90-year-old grandmother who lives in the West Bank in Eastern Jerusalem.
The New York Times reported that Tlaib asked Israeli officials to allow the family visit and said it would not be a political trip:
Israel’s interior minister, Aryeh Deri, had announced earlier Friday morning that the congresswoman would be allowed to enter for a family visit, after she wrote to him saying that it might be her last chance to see her grandmother and pledging to “respect any restrictions” and to “not promote boycotts” during her stay.
Deri agreed to allow Tlaib to visit her grandmother, but within hours the freshman lawmaker said she would not accept Israel’s “restrictions,” the Times reported.
The Times had a reporter on the ground in Israel who described Tlaib’s “ancestral home:”
In a small stone house on the edge of a sleepy Palestinian village near Ramallah, an elderly woman ran a string of wooden worry beads through her gnarled fingers on Friday, silently reciting the 99 names of Allah, almost oblivious to the maelstrom of world politics swirling around her and her granddaughter, Representative Rashida Tlaib.
“I’m happy that Rashida will come,” Muftiya Tlaib said, barely an hour after the interior minister’s announcement. Dressed in a colorful, intricately embroidered traditional Palestinian thobe, she added, “But I hear they won’t let her.”
But while people were speculated why she would give up seeing her grandmother, the Times, which reported Trump is responsible for Israel denying the two Muslim women entry into Israel, said it was the Palestinians who made Tlaib change her mind.
“A storm of Palestinian criticism on social media denounced Ms. Tlaib for selling out the cause in exchange for a glimpse of her grandmother, and a few hours after gaining Israeli approval, she announced that she would not come after all,” the Times reported, incorrectly saying in its article that Tlaib’s relatives live in Palestine.
“Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter.
Tlaib also called Israel’s policies “oppressive and racist.”
What Israel proposed to @RashidaTlaib was their age-old proposition: you can stay in your homeland as a humanitarian exception- without political rights- & on condition you surrender & cease to resist. Thank u Rashida for rejecting these terms and making it clear what is at stake https://t.co/ocLVlkawMX
— Noura Erakat (@4noura) August 16, 2019
My grandmother always keeps it real. ⬇️🔥
"When asked about Donald Trump and his repeated attacks on her granddaughter, she brushed off the question. “I don’t know him,” she said. “I don’t care.”https://t.co/fW1oZkqRqw
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 16, 2019
“Ms. Tlaib’s grandmother, apparently still unaware of the latest reversals, said she had originally planned to welcome her returning granddaughter by slaughtering a sheep for a traditional Palestinian feast,” the Times reported. “Asked where the sheep was on Friday, she laughed wryly, gestured out the window and said it was still with the flock.”
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