You may recall that Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu was considering blocking Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting Israel after they announced that “Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories” would be the prime reason for their trip.
The two controversial Muslim Democrat House representatives have repeatedly made clear their pro-BDS movement sentiment and anti-Israel views.
As Netanyahu pondered the decision, President Trump urged him to barr the congresswomen from visiting.
Trump posted this tweet early this morning:
Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials, who have a high respect for Trump, listened.
Following our president's tweet, Israeli officials made the decision to ban Omar and Tlaib from visiting Israel.
PM Netanyahu explained that the pro-Palestine congresswomen's travel itinerary "revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel's legitimacy."
Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely made the official announcement:
"Israel has decided — we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country. We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision."
Here's the full Twitter thread of Netanyahu's explanation as to why Omar and Tlaib are banned from visiting the State of Israel:
President Trump responded to Israel's decision and why he urged officials to barr Omar and Tlaib.
Here's a clip of what he had to say:
Fox News has more details on the ban:
Israeli officials have decided to block U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from entering the country as part of a planned visit, a reversal that comes amid pressure from President Trump and concerns about their support for boycotts of Israel.
The move prompted a massive outcry from Democratic lawmakers in Washington, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling it a "sign of weakness" and Omar accusing Israel of implementing "Trump’s Muslim ban."
"It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government," Omar said in a statement.
But the Israeli government staunchly defended the decision -- suggesting the lawmakers had ulterior motives with the planned trip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, explaining the decision at length on his office's Twitter account, said that Tlaib and Omar's itinerary "revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel's legitimacy."
Netanyahu said their travel plans referred to a trip to "Palestine," not Israel, and the congresswomen were not interested in meeting with Israeli officials. He went on to note that the Palestinian organization that planned the visit, MIFTAH, supports the boycott movement, and that people associated with the group have supported terror against Israel in the past.
He said Israel welcomes critics with the exception of those who support boycotts of the Jewish State.
The decision itself was made by Interior Minister Arye Deri and announced earlier Thursday by deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely, despite prior assurances that the congresswomen would be allowed in.
"Israel has decided — we won’t enable the members of Congress to enter the country,” Hotovely told public broadcaster Kan. "We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision."
Omar and Tlaib were among 17 members of Congress who voted against a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in July. This was after Omar introduced a resolution of her own that encouraged the use of boycotts as a political tool, and told Al-Monitor that "it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement."
The Hill also said:
Israel on Thursday announced that it would deny Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) entry during an upcoming overseas trip, citing the lawmakers' past comments critical of the country.
The president has been an outspoken critic of both Omar and Tlaib, who last year became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. But encouraging a foreign ally to deny entry to two elected U.S. officials marked a significant escalation and break with diplomatic norms.
Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the country would not “allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter,” The Times of Israel reported, citing a broadcast interview. Hotovely called it a “very justified decision.”
It’s unclear when Israeli officials made the final decision or whether it was affected by Trump’s tweet. News of the decision came roughly an hour after Trump tweeted.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a lengthy statement later Thursday standing by the decision and disputing accusations that rejecting Omar and Tlaib entry would cause a broader rift in U.S.-Israeli relations.
He cited Israeli law that prohibits entry into the country for individuals who support a boycott of Israel.
“The two-member congressional visitation plan shows that their intent is to hurt Israel and increase its unrest against it,” Netanyahu asserted in a statement.
The prime minister added that if Tlaib filed a request to see her family members in the West Bank, Israel would consider granting her access on humanitarian grounds.
Reports surfaced Wednesday and earlier Thursday that the Israeli government was likely to bar Omar and Tlaib from visiting the country, despite warnings from Democrats that such a move would be unprecedented. It marks a reversal from last month, when Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer said that the Israeli government would not deny entry to members of Congress.