Netanyahu to Decide Whether Omar and Tlaib Can Enter Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
Arrivals at Ben Gurion airport. (Hadas Parush/Flash 90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will have to decide whether Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar can enter Israel and Yehudah and Shomron for a planned tour, Haaretz reported Thursday.

Introducing a bill Wednesday that would allow Americans to participate in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, Representative Ilhan Omar announced that she intends to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in coming weeks.

Israeli law allows authorities to deny entrance to supporters of the BDS movement, which aims to push Israel to comply with international law through an international pressure campaign.

However, the Foreign Ministry has the authority to recommend to the Strategic Affairs Ministry and the Interior Ministry the issuing of waivers for political or diplomatic figures, if it deems denying them entry would harm Israel’s foreign relations.

According to the Haaretz report, in the event that the boycott law is activated against Omar and Tlaib, Netanyahu will be asked to make the final decision given possible ramifications on Israel-U.S. relations due to the sensitivity of the planned visit.

“I am going in a couple of weeks and so I’ll learn more,” Omar told the Jewish Insider Wednesday, adding “But truly, everything that I hear points to both sides feeling like there is still an occupation.”

Rashida Tlaib, Omar’s colleague and fellow member of a group of four progressive congresswomen targeted this week by President Donald Trump announced earlier this year she was planning to organize a congressional delegation trip to the West Bank.

The first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, Tlaib has pledged support to the BDS movement and announced plans to boycott the annual trip to Israel sponsored by the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby.

In addition to being the first Muslim women elected to the U.S. legislature, Tlaib and Omar are also the first and second lawmakers, respectively, to endorse the BDS movement.

Omar, who was born in Somalia and immigrated at a young age to Minnesota, and Tlaib, who was born in Michigan to Palestinian parents, have been outspoken about their views against Israel, garnering accusations of anti-Semitism for their statements and support for the BDS movement.