Israeli Decision on Omar and Tlaib Inflames Politics in Two Countries


Mr. Friedman, the American ambassador, said Israel’s initial decision to admit the congresswomen was an opportunity to educate them. “Unfortunately, the itinerary of the Tlaib/Omar delegation leaves no room for that opportunity,” he said.

Ms. Omar, who learned of the cancellation from news reports, had been scheduled to arrive on Saturday night. An aide said she planned to meet with an Arab member of the Israeli Parliament and hoped to schedule a meeting with Jewish members as well. The two congresswomen were to tour the West Bank, partly under the auspices of Miftah, an organization headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker, Hanan Ashrawi.

“What are they afraid of?” asked Ms. Ashrawi, referring to Israeli authorities. “That they might find out things?”

The congresswomen also planned to visit Hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem, as well as Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, including a stop at the Al Aqsa Mosque, a hotly contested holy site. Ms. Tlaib, a Palestinian American, planned to visit relatives in the West Bank and Israel indicated on Thursday that it might still allow her to come for that purpose alone.

Ms. Tlaib, who wore a traditional Palestinian gown, a thobe, at her swearing in, speaks often of her grandmother living in the West Bank. In a private email to fellow freshman Democrats early Thursday morning, Ms. Tlaib appealed to them to advocate for her to be allowed to visit her grandmother.

“She was expecting to see me in a few days,” Ms. Tlaib wrote, adding, “This decision to not allow me entry sets a dangerous precedent.”

The situation put Democrats in an awkward position of defending Ms. Omar after previously denouncing some of her statements about Israel and its supporters. Ms. Omar apologized in February after she said support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins, baby” — a reference to $100 bills.



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