Monday, October 21, 2019

US congresswomen are planning to visit Israel and Palestine


By F.F. Dawkins - July 23, 2019
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Democratic US-Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib are organising a visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in the upcoming weeks.

However, their entrance could be prohibited by Israeli authorities, according to a law implemented in March 2017, which prevents foreigners the entry to Israel if they “publicly call for boycotting Israel”.

Both Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib - who is the first Palestinian-American to be elected in the US-Congress - are known for their public support towards BDS, a movement which advocates for the non-violent boycott of Israel.

Ilhan Omar told the Jewish Insider “I am going in a couple of weeks and so I’ll learn more. But truly, everything that I hear points to both sides feeling like there is still an occupation.” 

She further explained that she would try to visit “both” sides, referring to Israel and the West Bank.

“We must really address that [occupation] and make sure that as we push forth a two-state solution, that we acknowledge that and fight any attempts to stall this process and make sure that there is an opportunity for both sides to fully recognise each other’s dignity and to live peacefully.”

Only shortly before she announced her travel to Palestine and Israel, Omar introduced a new pro-BDS resolution on 17 July, in the US-congress, which is supported by Rashida Tlaib and Democratic congressman John Lewis. 

In a statement regarding the resolution, Omar said: “that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

Democratic Congressman, Brad Sherman told the Jerusalem Post, that “I can’t imagine that any committee is going to mark up or take seriously any pro-BDS resolution”.

Numerous BDS supporters have been barred from entering Israel in recent years, in 2018 Israel released a list of 20 international organisations banned from entering. 

Government officials told the Jerusalem Post that the National Security Council has been discussing the entrance of the two congresswomen and will make a recommendation to Premier Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador in the US, Ron Dermer, stated on 19 July that “out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.”

 

Lead image: Ilhan Omar

 

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