In U-turn, Israel says barred US Dem can visit, she rejects offer

Israeli police officers stand guard at Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv, Israel,Thursday

Israeli police officers stand guard at Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv, Israel,Thursday

"Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided on Friday to approve the entry of US Congresswoman Rashida Talib on a humanitarian visit of her 90-year-old grandmother", the statement reads.

Israel scrapped the visit shortly after Trump weighed in via Twitter to say it would be showing "great weakness" if the Jewish state allowed the lawmakers in, leading to suspicion that Netanyahu acted only after receiving ally Trump's imprimatur. That appears to have led to her decision to cancel the visit.

Tlaib wrote that accepting conditions placed on her "stands against" everything she believes in.

"As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel". Israel, apprehensive of their pro-Palestinian stance, had nonetheless allowed them entry into the county seeing as they were members of the US Congress. The discriminatory ban came after President Trump posted a tweet urging Israel to keep the progressive politicians out - the latest in a series of racist attacks against recently elected congresswomen of color, including Reps.

U.S. congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has been critical of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians. She doesn't have to see her now!

However, Netanyahu said that if Tlaib submitted a request to visit family on humanitarian grounds, Israel would consider it as long as she promised not to promote a boycott against Israel. Tlaib's office could not immediately be reached for comment on the letter's authenticity.

She said that winning her seat in Congress had given Palestinian people "hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions".

She meant to slaughter a sheep in her honour, in accordance with custom. The visit would have included a tour partly organized by a Palestinian group.

Some Palestinians had expressed disappointment with the letter.

The army said that Friday night's rocket launch at southern Israel was the first since July 12.

Omar and Tlaib are public supporters of the rights of Palestinians who have voiced their opposition to Israeli policies - from the lobbying influence of the pro-israel lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to West Bank settlements - since they began their tenure on Capitol Hill earlier this year.

Tlaib and Omar represent districts in states Trump is aiming to win in his 2020 re-election campaign: MI, which he narrowly won in 2016, and Minnesota, which he narrowly lost.

Arthur Lenk, formerly Israel's ambassador to South Africa, said barring Omar and Tlaib "would be sinking us deeper into U.S. domestic political quagmire".

Trump had tweeted: "The only real victor here is TlaibĀ“s grandmother". "As for the president's message that allowing the congresswomen to visit Israel would be a 'sign of weakness?' Exporting intolerance is the true sign of weakness".

"Trump's constant attacks on Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib are no secret to Israeli leadership", he tweeted.

"This is a risky precedent that defines all diplomatic norms and an assault on the Palestinian people's right to engage with the rest of the world", she said in a statement. They were going to visit a hospital, for instance, that lost funding when the Trump administration cut aid money for the Palestinians.

Although Trump has feuded in particular against the squad, he has accused the entire Democratic Party of being "anti-Israel". Israel holds a national election on September 17 and Trump faces re-election in November 2020.

Ocasio-Cortez said on Thursday that the decision to ban members of Congress from Israel "harms [international] diplomacy".

However, he added, "it does not make excluding them from Israeli-controlled territory a good decision". "It serves his base".

Founded in 1998, Miftah's vision is a "sovereign, independent, democratic, tolerant and inclusive Palestinian state, which grants Palestinians their basic rights, preserves their dignity, and enjoys global recognition and respect", according to the group's website.

-- Associated Press cameraman Eyad Moghrabi in Beit Ur al-Foqa, West Bank, contributed.

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