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U.S. Rep Tlaib says she won't visit West Bank under 'oppressive' conditions

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 16, 2019 - Duration: 01:44s

U.S. Rep Tlaib says she won't visit West Bank under 'oppressive' conditions

A U.S. Democratic lawmaker said she no longer planned to visit family in the West Bank after Israel granted her permission on humanitarian grounds.

Zachary Goelman reports.

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U.S. Rep Tlaib says she won't visit West Bank under 'oppressive' conditions

U.S. Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib on Friday (August 16) said she was no longer planning to visit her family in the occupied West Bank.

Her visit to the region was initially blocked by the Israeli government, citing a law that allows the government to bar those who advocate for boycotting Israeli products.

Tlaib and another U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar were set to tour the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

They were the first Muslim women elected to Congress after elections in November.

Both have expressed support for Palestinian rights.

Israel relaxed the restrictions on humanitarian grounds after Tlaib asked for permission to visit her grandmother near Ramallah.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said the government expected Tlaib to comply with Israeli law and not promote a boycott.

On Friday Tlaib tweeted, referring to her grandmother, "Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me.

It would kill a piece of me.

I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in -fighting against racism, oppression & injustice." Israel's decision to block the visit was an unprecedented move against elected lawmakers from a closely allied country.

The Jewish state relies heavily on American aid, money that must be approved by Congress.

But Donald Trump pressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bar Tlaib and Omar from the country.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, IN AN EXCHANGE WITH REPORTERS, SAYING: REPORTER: "Why did you feel the need to get involved in the two congresswomen's trip to Israel?

"TRUMP: "Well, I'm only involved from the standpoint of, they are very anti-Jewish and they're very anti-Israel.

Trump has recently railed against Tlaib, Omar and two other female Democratic lawmakers, suggesting they go back to where they came from.

That slur prompted a rebuke from Congress, which condemned the president's words as racist.

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