Israel on Thursday (15 August) announced its decision to bar the entry to two United States congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country after President Trump issued the warning that the two congresswomen despise the Jewish state.
Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, both members of the Democratic Party, were expected to arrive at the weekend to visit Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank cities of Bethlehem, Ramallah and Hebron.
Tlaib is of Palestinian origin and has family in the West Bank. Somali-origin Ilhan Omar has often been embroiled in controversy over her alleged anti-Semitic speeches.
Both the Muslim congresswomen are trenchant critics of Israel's policy toward the Palestinians and known for their incendiary rhetoric. Both endorse the BDS movement, which advocates boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
“Israel has decided — we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said. “We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) August 15, 2019
No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel.
As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to Twitter and explained the rationale for the decision. He said that the “sole purpose” of the congresswomen’s trip is “to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.”
Earlier on Thursday, President Trump had warned the US ally against admitting in Israel both the Congresswomen who “hate Israel and all Jewish people”.
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. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
In the tweet thread, Netanyahu said that if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, it will be considered Israel on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.