Did Rashida Tlaib refuse to meet with Palestinian Authority's Abbas?

Some Palestinians claimed that Tlaib and members of her delegation had made it clear that they were not interested in meeting with Palestinian Authority officials.

By
August 18, 2019 13:08
2 minute read.
Did Rashida Tlaib refuse to meet with Palestinian Authority's Abbas?

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses Arab journalists in Ramallah on July 3. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

Palestinians reacted with mixed feelings to Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s decision to cancel her planned visit to east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Some Palestinians criticized Tlaib (D-Michigan) for writing a letter to Interior Minister Arye Deri requesting permission to visit her relatives in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa, west of Ramallah. In her letter, Tlaib said she wanted to see her grandmother and promised to “respect any restrictions” and “not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

Tlaib’s letter drew criticism from several Palestinians, who took to social media to express their opposition to the congresswoman’s request to visit her relatives in accordance with Israeli preconditions.

Some Palestinians claimed that Tlaib and members of her delegation had made it clear that they were not interested in meeting with Palestinian Authority officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas, during their visit.

“We supported Tlaib, but we later learned that she and her friends would have refused to meet with President Abbas even if they had been allowed to enter the country,” said an activist with the ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank.

Her critics also did not like Tlaib’s pledge not to promote boycotts against Israel and called on her to reject Israeli preconditions. “Why didn’t she ask her grandmother for her opinion about the Israeli preconditions?” asked one Palestinian on Facebook. “Her grandmother would have surely said no.”

The uproar apparently prompted Tlaib to backtrack, saying she will not allow the Israeli government to humiliate her. In a statement, she wrote that “the Israeli government used my love and desire to see my grandmother to silence me and make my ability to do so contingent upon my signing a letter – reflecting just how undemocratic and afraid they are of the truth my trip would reveal about what is happening in the State of Israel and to Palestinians living under occupation with United States support.”

Many Palestinians praised Tlaib for backtracking on her request, while others defended her, saying she was entitled to visit her relatives even if that meant accepting Israeli preconditions. “If the pledge was to refrain from promoting boycotts against Israel only during the visit, that wouldn’t be a problem,” remarked another Palestinian on Facebook. “It would have been a problem had she promised to permanently suspend all her activities.”

Some Palestinian social media users said they had no problem with Tlaib’s purported refusal to meet with Abbas. “She has the right to meet with whoever she wants,” they noted. “If she didn’t want to meet with Abbas, that shouldn’t turn her into a persona non grata.”


Related Content

September 21, 2019
Pentagon to send troops to bolster Saudi defenses after attack

By REUTERS