An Israeli official just confirmed that U.S. Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will be barred from entering the country ahead of a planned trip.
"We will not allow the congresswomen to enter the country,” Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovel said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “We will not allow anyone who denies our right to exist in the world to enter the country.”
Meanwhile, the Israeli television station Channel 12 also reported that Israel’s interior minister, Arye Deri, had decided to deny the congresswomen entry, according to the Independent.
Both Omar, a representative of Minnesota, and Tlaib, a representative of Michigan, have expressed support for the the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian-led effort to sanction Israel over human rights abuses and end the occupation of the West Bank. And both women have long been critical of Israeli policies. However, they were expected to visit the nation on Sunday. They had no planned visits with either Israeli or Palestinian officials, according to the New York Times.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly met with cabinet officials on Wednesday to determine whether or not the progressive legislators would be allowed entry, considering Israel passed a law in 2017 to deny entry to pro-BDS travelers. However, Netanyahu has not himself confirmed whether he’s canceling Omar and Tlaib’s trip, and the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. said last month that Israel would allow the congressional visit.
Several media outlets reported the Israeli government would provide updates later Thursday.
President Donald Trump has has encouraged Israel to bar the congresswomen from entering. He said in a tweet Thursday morning that the women “hate all Jewish people,” despite there being no evidence for that claim.
“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” Trump wrote. “Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”
Cover: In this Feb. 5, 2019 photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, joined at right by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listen to President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)