Israel has finally decided to block US lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering its territory, according to media reports. "The decision has been made, the decision is not to allow them to enter," Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Israel's Reshet Radio.
Under Israeli law, backers of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement can be denied entry to Israel. But Israel's ambassador in the US, Ron Dermer, said last month Tlaib and Omar would be let in, out of respect for the US Congress and the US-Israeli relationship.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States, has however opposed the ban on their entry.
The group said, "We believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand."
"We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib's support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib's calls for a one-state solution," AIPAC said in a tweet.
We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib's support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib's calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.— AIPAC (@AIPAC) August 15, 2019
The decision has come moments after the President of United States Donald Trump urged the Jewish nation to not allow them as" they are a disgrace".
Trump said allowing Representative for Minnesota Ilhan Omar and Representative for Michigan Rashida Tlaib will show the weakness of Israel. He said, "They hate Israel and Jewish people and there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds."
He further added that Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in the office.
It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & 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 office. They are a disgrace!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019
It was reported earlier today that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was holding consultations with senior ministers and aides on Thursday to re-evaluate the decision to allow two Democratic congresswomen to enter the country next week.
Tlaib and Omar have been the target of repeated attacks by Donald Trump in recent months, including a series of racist tweets on 14 July in which the president said they should "go back" to the "broken" countries they came from.
Both are US citizens and Tlaib was born in the United States.
The two are members of the so-called "Squad" of newly elected leftwing Democratic representatives, along with the New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and the Massachusetts representative Ayanna Pressley.