Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Under intense pressure from US. President Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Thursday barred two members of the United States Congress from entering Israel, reversing a previous decision to admit two of the president’s most outspoken critics.
Trump earlier tweeted it would show “great weakness” if the pair were allowed entry.
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
Trump has enlisted a foreign power to take action against two American citizens, let alone elected members of Congress, which would be the first act of its kind by an american president. Some Americans even said it amounts to treason.
Isn't this a form of treason?
Trump asked Israel to do this.
Trump should not be working AGAINST our country…or using his office to intentionally harm members of Congress.
Your Vote, Your Voice (@MplsMe) August 15, 2019
Speaking with reporters before flying to Manchester, N.H., for a rally, Trump would not say whether he spoke directly with Netanyahu about the matter but acknowledged that he “did speak with people” privately even before tweeting about it, according to New York Times.
Trump’s call and Israel’s decision triggered a wide-range reactions by human rights activists, politicians, and artists.
Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib both responded to the Trump-Netanyahu decision. Omar said that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is implementing US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Muslim congresswomen. She also doubled down that Netanyahu resists peace efforts, restricts the Palestinians’ freedom of movement, and aligns himself with Islamophobes like Trump.
It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the U.S. government.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/v00ESmehXT
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) August 15, 2019
Tlaib also responded, calling the move a sign of weakness.
“This woman right here is my sity,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter. “She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity. I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening.
This woman right here is my sity. She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity. I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening. pic.twitter.com/GGcFLiH9N3
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 15, 2019
Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said that the Trump-Netanyahu decision is “a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy.”
Banning Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib from entering Israel and Palestine is a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy. The Israeli government should reverse this decision and allow them in. https://t.co/mvdcmnFBKU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 15, 2019
Amnesty International in Israel and USA issued a joint statement in which Amnesty International Israel’s director said that ‘Israel’ allows free entry to leaders accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and supporting neo-Nazi and anti-semitic groups, while “automatically calls anti-semitic anyone who dare criticize it.”
the statement also stressed that “Israel bars entry on the basis of political views to those who critique it.”
the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA slammed Trump’s “divisive rhetoric that inflicts great harm on those standing up for their basic rights.”
Artists also criticized the decision. American singer, songwriter, producer John Legend called Trump’s move “shameful on Trump’s part and on the part of the Israeli government.”
The President of the United States is joining with a foreign government to punish duly elected representatives of the people to quash their dissent and prevent them from doing their job. This is shameful on his part and on the part of the Israeli government. https://t.co/nBb3vAdGAx
— John Legend (@johnlegend) August 15, 2019
The decision was also criticized by some top Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, also said it was a mistake.
On the other hand, in a statement, Netanyahu said Israel respects Congress but defended the decision. “As a free and vibrant democracy,” he said, “Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for, and work to impose, boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prevent the entry of people believed to be damaging to the country.”
Trump welcomed the decision on Twitter. “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!” he wrote.
US. ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, said Israel had “every right to protect its borders” against activists who support the boycott movement, which he deemed “no less than economic warfare.”
An Israeli official close to the prime minister’s office said on Thursday that a call came from the Trump administration as recently as this week pressing Mr. Netanyahu to bar the congresswomen. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss delicate information, said the prime minister found himself in a “lose lose” situation, having to choose between upsetting Mr. Trump or the Democrats, according to New York Times.