Israel news summary

Israel News for 8-16-2019

Terror Attack
Two Arab terrorists attacked and stabbed a policeman in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City last night. Other policemen shot the terrorists, killing one and seriously wounding the other in the leg.

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Congresswomen Banned
Israel has banned U.S. Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering Israel. PM Netanyahu said last night, “As a vibrant and free democracy, Israel is open to every critic and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry of people who call for and carry out a boycott of Israel, as is the case with other democracies that prevent the entry of people whoas positions harm that country. This is how the U.S. acted towards an Israeli Knesset member and other public figures in the world.”

The PM added, “Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activities to promote boycott legislation against Israel in the U.S. Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their visitation plan, which showed they were planning a campaign whose sole purpose is to strengthen the boycott and deny Israel’s legitimacy. They said their destination was ‘Palestine’ and not ‘Israel,’ and unlike all Democratic and Republican congressmen to this day, refrained from seeking a meeting with any Israeli official either in the government or the opposition.”

The congresswomen are supporters of the anti Israel BDS movement. Under Israeli law, backers of the BDS movement can be denied entry to Israel.

President Trump urged Israel to ban the congresswomen, tweeting that not doing so “would show great weakness”.

US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer tweeted, “Denying entry to members of the United States Congress is a sign of weakness, not strength. It will only hurt the U.S.-Israel relationship and support for Israel in America. No democratic society should fear an open debate. Many strong supporters of Israel will be deeply disappointed in this decision, which the Israeli government should reverse.”

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, tweeted, “Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib & Omar is beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel. @realDonaldTrump’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance & disrespect, & beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., criticized the decision, tweeting that while he disagrees with Tlaib and Onmar, “denying them entry into Israel is a mistake. Being blocked is what they really hoped for all along in order to bolster their attacks against the Jewish state.”

AIPAC also criticized Israel’s decision tweeting, “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.”

[Some Israel supporters believe that the decision to ban will give the congresswomen enormous publicity and turn them into heroes.]

Congresswoman Omar said in a statement, “Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress. Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories. Sadly, this is not a surprise given the public positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realities of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump.”

“As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, it is my job to conduct oversight of foreign aid from the United States of America and to legislate on human rights practices around the world. The irony of the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.”

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Humanitarian Visit
After being barred from entering Israel, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib submitted a humanitarian request to Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to be allowed in to visit relatives in the West Bank. She wrote, “I would like to request admittance to Israel in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa. This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

Sources say that Tlaib could be allowed in if she signs a document agreeing to a series of restrictions, including committing to refrain from promoting a boycott of Israel during her stay.

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