US lawmaker Rashida Tlaib granted entry to Israel on humanitarian grounds

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib had petitioned the Israeli government to visit her Palestinian relatives, and specifically her grandmother, who is in her 90s.
US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib had petitioned the Israeli government to visit her Palestinian relatives, and specifically her grandmother, who is in her 90s.PHOTO: REUTERS

TEL AVIV (DPA) - Israel has granted a petition by US lawmaker Rashida Tlaib to enter the country on humanitarian grounds, one day after Israel sparked an outcry by barring Ms Tlaib and fellow lawmaker Ilhan Omar from making a diplomatic visit to the region.

The Democratic lawmakers, the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress and among the most critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, were denied entry to Israel on Thursday (Aug 15) over their support for boycotting the country in a movement known as BDS.

Following the ban, Ms Tlaib petitioned the government on humanitarian grounds to visit her Palestinian relatives, "and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa", read the application to Israel's Interior Minister Arye Dery.

Ms Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian parents who had emigrated to the US. Beit Ur al-Fouqa is a town west of Ramallah in the Palestinian territories.

"This could be my last opportunity to see her," Ms Tlaib wrote, adding: "I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit."

The Interior Ministry in a statement said it had granted the application on "humanitarian grounds" and added that it hoped Ms Tlaib would stick to her pledge.