Israel to allow U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib into country to visit 90-year-old grandmother

Posted at 5:24 AM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 11:28:08-04

Just a day after barring U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Israel is expected to allow Tlaib into the country to visit her family in West Bank, according to Reuters.

Israel says it received and granted a request by Rep. Rashida Tlaib to visit West Bank on humanitarian grounds.

She wrote a letter to request access, stating her grandmother is in her late 90s and this could be the last time she could see her. In the letter, she said she would respect any restrictions and would not promote boycotts against the country during her visit.

Tlaib tweeted Friday that she will still speak out despite Israel's attempt to make her "bow down to their oppressive & racist policies," and "decided not to travel to Palestine and Israel at this time."

The U.S. Rep. from Michigan spoke to constituents at a town hall at Salem High School Thursday night. It was there she told reporters she was on her way to visit her grandmother when her plane was halted.

President Donald Trump did agree with the original move to ban her from entering the country.

"It would be terrible thing frankly for Israel to let these two people who speak so badly of Israel to come in," the President said.

It is being reported early Friday morning that the Israel Interior Minister granted Tlaib's access.

Read the Congresswoman's full statement below:

"In my attempt to visit Palestine, I’ve experienced the same racist treatment that many Palestinian-Americans endure when encountering the Israeli government. In preparation for my visit, my grandmother was deciding which fig tree we would pick from together, while Palestinians and Israelis who are against the illegal military occupation were looking forward to Members of Congress finally listening to and seeing them for the first time. The Israeli government used my love and desire to see my grandmother to silence me and made my ability to do so contingent upon my signing a letter – reflecting just how undemocratic and afraid they are of the truth my trip would reveal about what is happening in the State of Israel and to Palestinians living under occupation with United States support.
“I have therefore decided to not travel to Palestine and Israel at this time. Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother's heart. Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.
“When I won the election to become a United States Congresswoman, many Palestinians, especially my grandmother, felt a sense of hope, a hope that they would finally have a voice. I cannot allow the Israeli government to take that away from them or to use my deep desire to see my grandmother, potentially for the last time, as a political bargaining chip. My family and I have cried together throughout this ordeal; they’ve promised to keep my grandmother alive until I can one day reunite with her. It is with their strength and heart that I reiterate I am a duly elected United States Congresswoman and I will not allow the Israeli government to humiliate me and my family or take away our right to speak out. I will not allow the Israeli government to take away our hope.
“Racism and the politics of hate is thriving in Israel and the American people should fear what this will mean for the relationship between our two nations. If you truly believe in democracy, then the close alignment of Netanyahu with Trump's hate agenda must prompt a re-evaluation of our unwavering support for the State of Israel. The denial of entry of a congressional delegation is not only about Congresswoman Omar and I, but also about the deep-rooted racism within Israel that is taking us further away from peace. The Israeli and Palestinian people need us to be more courageous and to be honest brokers of peace. Being silent and not condemning the human rights violations of the Israeli government is a disservice to all who live there, including my incredibly strong and loving grandmother.
“This type of oppression is painful for all humanity, but it is especially painful for me personally every time I hear my loving family members cry out for the freedom to live and the right to feel human."