Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan AshrawiIssam Rimawi/Flash 90

Senior PLO leader and Palestinian Authority negotiator Hanan Ashrawi accused Israel of committing an “act of hostility” against the American people Thursday, calling the decision to bar entry to two anti-Israel Democratic lawmakers “a dangerous precedent”.

Responding to the Israeli Interior Ministry’s decision Thursday to invoke the 2017 anti-BDS law, which allows Israel to bar entry to supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), Ashrawi said the decision to ban Ilhan Omar (MN-D) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-D) was an affront to the American people as a whole.

"The Israeli decision to ban Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting Palestine is an outrageous act of hostility against the American people and their representatives," Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement, according to AFP.

"This is a dangerous precedent that defies all diplomatic norms and an assault on the Palestinian people's right to engage with the rest of the world."

On Thursday, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) confirmed that his ministry had decided, based on consultations with other senior Israeli officials including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to bar the two lawmakers from entering Israel.

"These are people who use the most influential platform in the world to express support for BDS organizations which call for the boycotting of Israel. The State of Israel respects the American Congress, as part of the close alliance between our two countries, but we cannot permit people into the country who seek to hurt the State of Israel."

The decision was formally announced shortly after President Donald Trump posted a comment to Twitter urging Israel not to allow the two lawmakers in, claiming the two “hate Israel and all Jewish people”.

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit,” Trump tweeted. “They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

The tweet came just hours after Israeli media reported that the Israeli interior ministry had decided to ban Omar and Tlaib from entering the country, due to their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israeli law prohibits entry into the country by supporters of the BDS movement.