Israel Denies Entry to Omar and Tlaib After Trump’s Call to Block Them – The New York Times
“I feel very secure in this, that anyone who comes with open ears, open eyes and an open mind will walk away with an understanding, just as all these members here do, that this bond is unbreakable,” the House minority leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, told reporters in Jerusalem on Sunday, while leading a delegation of 31 Republican lawmakers. “I think all should come.”
Speaking at a joint news conference with Mr. McCarthy, Representative Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader who was heading a delegation to Israel of 41 Democratic representatives, agreed.
Many Israelis and Jewish leaders have also expressed discomfort with the idea that American officials could be denied entry because of their beliefs or criticism of Israel. Just last month, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, said that Israel would not deny entry to any United States representatives.
Ms. Omar had been scheduled to arrive on Sunday for a tour of the West Bank, partly under the auspices of an organization headed by a longtime Palestinian lawmaker, Hanan Ashrawi, that was expected to highlight Palestinian grievances over the Israeli occupation.
The women were planning to visit the West Bank cities of Hebron, Ramallah and Bethlehem, as well as Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem, according to Ms. Ashrawi, including a visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque, a hotly contested and volatile holy site. Most of the delegation was expected to depart on Aug. 22, but Ms. Tlaib had been planning to stay on to visit relatives in the West Bank.
No meetings had been planned with either Israeli or Palestinian officials, other than Ms. Ashrawi, who is also a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee. She said the organization she leads, Miftah, was co-sponsoring the visit.
The purpose of the visit, Ms. Ashrawi said, was to give the congresswomen a way “to engage with the Palestinian people directly and to see things on the ground.”