Update, Aug. 16, 2019, at 11:11 a.m.: Tlaib released a statement on Friday morning saying that she has decided not to travel to the West Bank after all. “Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart,” she writes.
Original post: The day after Israel denied an entry visa to two American congresswomen at the behest of President Donald Trump, the Israeli government softened its stance ever so slightly and said it would allow a humanitarian exemption for Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib to visit her grandmother in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Tlaib was scheduled for a four-day visit to the country with Rep. Ilhan Omar beginning this weekend, before Israel nixed the trip citing their apparent support of the boycott movement against Israel that aims at putting pressure on the government over its treatment of Palestinians. The decision to refuse entry to the first two Muslim American congresswomen was a striking political and diplomatic move that showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegiance to Trump, threatening to upend the two countries’ traditional alliance.
Politics aside, Tlaib had a far more personal reason to make the trip (both Tlaib and Omar were visiting the Palestinian territories in a personal capacity): Her maternal grandmother lives in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s interior minister, Aryeh Deri, said in a statement Friday that Tlaib had asked to be able to visit her grandmother, and the request had been granted.
“Ms. Tlaib, who wore a traditional Palestinian gown, a thobe, at her swearing in, speaks often of her grandmother living in the West Bank,” the New York Times reports. “In a private email to fellow freshman Democrats early Thursday morning, Ms. Tlaib appealed to them to advocate for her to be allowed to visit her grandmother.”