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Israel will allow Democrat Rashida Tlaib to visit West Bank for 'humanitarian' trip after barring official visit

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri announced Friday that Israel had decided to let Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) enter Israel after all, allowing her "a humanitarian visit to her 90-year-old grandmother" in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had announced Thursday that Israel was barring a planned delegation from Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, because they support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israel has passed a law allowing it to refuse entry to BDS proponents.

President Trump had encouraged Israel to block the visit by the two U.S. congresswoman, and U.S. Ambassador David Friedman issued a statement affirming that the Trump administration "supports and respects" Netanyahu's decision. Democrats had roundly criticized the move, as had pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, and even some Republicans called it a strategic miscalculation on Israel's part.

Deri released a letter Tlaib sent to the Interior Ministry on Thursday requesting permission "to visit relatives, and specifically my grandmother," for what "could be my last opportunity to see her." Tlaib added that she will "respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit."