Israel official: Netanyahu mulls blocking Omar, Tlaib visit

The Israeli government may block a trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories by Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders unveils plan for government-funded child care, pre-K Ilhan Omar accuses Meghan McCain of trafficking in 'anti-Muslim smears and hate speech' Sanders wins endorsement of top Muslim group MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders wins endorsement of top Muslim group Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms Omar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat MORE (D-Mich.), a senior Israeli official confirmed to The Washington Post.

The lawmakers, who have both been outspoken critics of Israel, are scheduled to arrive in the country Sunday. Their trip is being planned by a nonprofit organization, Miftah, headed by Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi.  

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The Israeli official, who spoke on anonymity, told the Post that Tlaib could make a humanitarian request to visit her family in the Israel-occupied West Bank and “it would be considered favorably.” But Democrats in Congress were reportedly told Wednesday that Israel would formally deny entry to Omar and Tlaib, according to the Post. 

A recently passed Israeli law denies entry visas to foreign nationals who publicly call for any boycotts against Israel or its settlements in the West Bank targeting the country’s treatment of Palestinians. Both Tlaib and Omar have expressed support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel.

The announcement reportedly received backlash from Democratic leadership and pro-Israel groups in the U.S., and it is not clear whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE will follow through with blocking the lawmakers, according to the Post.

Democrats, led by House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerImmigrants who seek opportunity should comply with longstanding American values The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (D-Md.), called on Israel to change its decision, the newspaper reported. Hoyer just returned to the U.S. from a trip to Israel sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying organization.

Last month, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer confirmed that the country would not deny entry to any lawmakers “out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.”

Additionally, Axios reported last week that an interagency meeting was held among the Israeli government and all of the agencies agreed that the lawmakers should be allowed into the country.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat MORE was reportedly disappointed in the government’s decision to allow the lawmakers into the country, the Post reported.

Although no official meetings have been scheduled for the lawmakers, they are still planning to travel to Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah as well as Jerusalem to meet with civil society groups, humanitarian workers, young people and hospital workers. Tlaib also plans to stay extra days in the region to see her grandmother, whose home is in the West Bank.

The Hill has reached out to Omar's and Tlaib's offices for comment.