President Donald Trump on Thursday, August 15, said that Israel will be showing a sign of weakness if it grants two Muslim first-term House Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to its country.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib said to be the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, are part of the “squad” which is a quartet of House Democrats (all women of ethnic minorities) targeted by Donald Trump in his campaign and social media attacks in recent times.
“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep Omar and Rep Tlaib to visit,” Trump said in a tweet on Thursday.
“They hate Israel and all Jewish people, and 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 the office. They are a disgrace” he added.
Shortly after President Trump sent out the tweet, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely confirmed that the two US lawmakers who have been vocal in their criticism of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians will not be granted access into the country.
“The decision has been made, the decision is not to allow them to enter,” Hotovely told Israel’s Reshet Radio on Thursday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also confirmed in a statement on Thursday morning that Omar and Tlaib would be denied entry to Israel.
“As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to any critic and criticism, with one exception: Israel’s law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel, as is the case with other democracies that prevent the entry of people whose perception harms the country,” Netanyahu said.
“Congressmen Talib and Omar are leading activists in promoting boycott legislation against Israel in the U.S. Congress,” he added.
43-year-old Tlaib was born in the United States but draws her roots to the Palestinian village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa in the occupied West Bank. 37-year-old Omar, on the other hand, migrated to the US from Somalia as a child. The duo had planned to tour the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem during a trip scheduled for this weekend.