Israel bars US lawmakers Omar, Tlaib from entry: Report

US congresswomen Omar and Tlaib 'barred from entering Israel': Report
2 min read
15 August, 2019
Israel's Interior Minister has reportedly barred two US congresswomen from entering Israel just days before they were due to visit the Jewish state.
Rashida Tlaib [L] and Ilhan Omar [R] were due to travel to Israel [Getty]

US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have been barred from entering Israel after an 11th hour decision by Israel's interior minister, according to media reports.

Israeli television station Channel 12 reported on Thursday that Interior minister Arye Deri moved to bar the two Muslim lawmakers.

The decision comes a day after Israeli media reported that the pair were planning to land in Israel on Friday instead of the announced date of Sunday. The planned move was reportedly designed to surprise Israel's government, who were known to be considering banning the pair.

Tlaib is originally from the West Bank city of Ramallah and her father grew up in Beit Hanna in East Jerusalem.

Palestinian-American Tlaib and Somali-American Omar have been vocal about their solidarity with Palestine.

Read more: What is BDS and why should you care?

Late last month The US Congress voted overwhelmingly to condemn the international movement to boycott Israel over its human rights violations and continued occupation of Palestine in a rare bipartisan vote.

Just 17 lawmakers voted against the non-binding resolution to condemn the BDS movement – a movement that Palestinians say is one of their only channels to raise awareness for their plight for freedom. 

Among them were Omar, Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, members of the trendsetting liberal group of congresswomen known as "the Squad". Fellow "Squad"-member Ayanna Pressley voted for the resolution.

Under Israeli law, authorities can deny entry to individuals who support boycott movements.

Israel's government is expected to deliver a statement on banning the two congresswomen on Thursday evening.