PLO: Israel dragging region to ‘religious war.’

CONGRESSWOMAN RASHIDA TLAIB, the first Palestinian-American elected to the House, wears a traditiona
CONGRESSWOMAN RASHIDA TLAIB, the first Palestinian-American elected to the House, wears a traditional Palestinian robe at her swearing-in ceremony.. (photo credit: REUTERS/ADAM SHAPIRO)


Relatives of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) said on Thursday that they were not surprised byIsrael’s decision to ban her from visiting Israel and the West Bank.

Many of Tlaib’s family members live in the village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa, west of Ramallah.

Last month, some of her clansmen and other villagers said they were preparing a “big welcome” for the congresswoman.

One of her uncles, Ahmed Tlaib, expressed disappointment over the Israeli ban, but said he and other family members were not surprised. “Of course, we’re not surprised,” he said. “This was expected and it’s very disappointing.”

Another member of the Tlaib clan said that the ban “shows that Israel does not even respect US citizens and elected representatives.”
Palestinian officials in Ramallah condemned the Israeli move as a “dangerous precedent.”

The PLO Executive Committee accused Israel of dragging the region toward “religious war” and seeking to divide the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, in time and space between Jews and Muslims.

The latest allegation came after a meeting of PLO leaders in Ramallah to discuss the recent tensions in Jerusalem, especially house demolitions in Wadi Hummus and Jewish visits to the Temple Mount.

The leaders were apparently unaware of the Israeli decision to bar Tlaib and her friends, and as such did not make any reference to it in the statement they issued after the meeting.

On the eve of the meeting, one of the PLO factions, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), called on the Palestinian leadership to revoke Palestinian recognition of Israel.

The PLO committee published accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing and collective punishment.”

It said that the Jewish visits were part of an Israeli policy to “Judaize” Jerusalem and change the legal status at the Temple Mount and warned that such actions will “drag the region into religious war.”

The committee claimed that Israel was trying to “benefit” from the policies of the US administration, “which is seeking to pass its Deal of the Century” – reference to President Donald Trump’s upcoming Middle East peace plan.

It said that the PLO leaders reiterated their rejection of the Trump administration’s policies and decisions toward the Palestinians over the past two years. The US administration, the committee charged, “is trying to impose the law of the jungle” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The PLO committee also called for the speedy implementation of the Palestinian leadership’s recent decision to abrogate all signed agreements with Israel. Calling for accelerating the work of a special committee set up to study mechanisms for implementing the decision, the committee called for “getting rid of these agreements, which are not being honored by Israel.”

As reported by The Jerusalem Post