The itinerary for the trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories set for this weekend by freshmen Muslim Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) that was canceled by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday made no mention of Israel and was titled, “U.S. Congressional Delegation to Palestine”. The trip was sponsored by the anti-Israel Palestinian group Miftah and would have included a visit to the Al Aqsa mosque that was built on the site of the Jewish religion’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.
Excerpt from the New York Times posted to Twitter shows a visit to the Al Aqsa mosque was planned:
5) So what was the trip Omar and Tlaib were planning? They had their own itinerary in mind. As @IKershner of the @nytimes reports: https://t.co/iycSvzSwZ1 pic.twitter.com/WWU836Dx8t
— Alex גדעון בן װעלװל (@JewishWonk) August 15, 2019
Excerpt from Miftah statement trashing Israel over the decision to bar Omar and Tlaib:
“Like all prolific human rights abusers, Israel wants to impose a blackout on the reality in occupied Palestine and prevent Congresswomen Tlaib, Omar from having direct contact with the Palestinian people, who are subject to Israel’s cruel regime of colonization, oppression, and land grab. Meanwhile, Israel has welcomed AIPAC-organized and funded visits of nearly 80 members of Congress to the region this week. This ban is a clear case of discrimination and hostility based on political views and ethnic background, deserving of moral indignation and unequivocal condemnation in Palestine and the United States.”
Netanyahu released a statement on the cancellation of the trip, noting the insulting labeling of the itinerary and the sponsorship by Miftah.
“No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel.
As a free and vibrant democracy, 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 prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country. In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member of Knesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world.
Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy. For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.
A week ago, Israel warmly welcomed some 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who expressed broad bipartisan support for Israel, which was also demonstrated a month ago in a resounding bipartisan vote against BDS in Congress.
However, the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.
In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.
Therefore, the Minister of Interior has decided not to allow their visit, and I, as Prime Minister, support his decision.
Nonetheless, if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.”