Rashida Tlaib’s West Bank family: Ban shows reality of ‘occupation’

Muftia Tlaib, the grandmother of U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib walks outside the family's home in the West Bank village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa on Friday. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI

Aug. 17 (UPI) — U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s family in a West Bank village told UPI on Friday they can’t bear to tell her 90-year-old grandmother that the congresswoman is not coming to visit.

Rashida Tlaib’s uncle, Bassam Tlaib, said Muftia Tlaib was happily preparing to see her granddaughter.

“We have only told her that Rashida may not come, so she can get used to the idea. In time, we will tell her that she is not coming. It will be very disappointing for her,” he said.

The Michigan Democrat said Friday she would not take the planned trip after Israeli officials first banned her from entry, then granted permission on humanitarian grounds for her to visit her grandmother — with restrictions, including refraining from promoting a boycott against Israel.

Bassam Tlaib received a text message from Rashida Tlaib Friday, saying, “I am not coming under these conditions.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the travel ban Thursday against Tlaib and fellow U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. He and U.S. President Donald Trump have criticized the congresswomen for their support of Palestinians and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel.

Ashraf Samara, head of the town council of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa, where the Tlaib family’s old stone home sits alone just outside the village, said they were planning a small welcoming party with another small village, but all plans have been stopped.

“The ban by Netanyahu shows the reality of the Israeli occupation, stealing land and hope,” Samara said. “We want a different life where we are free.”

Bassam Tlaib said he was not surprised by Israel’s actions.

“The decision of the Israeli government to ban her was not strange to us because we live under occupation. The decision is a policy of discrimination against her because her opinions about Israel contradict the opinions of Israel. If she had different opinions about the occupation, she would be allowed to enter.”

Rashida Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress.


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