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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

First Palestinian-American congresswoman plans West Bank tour

Rashida Tlaib backs BDS movement and says trip will offer alternative to AIPAC lobby group tours

US Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) reacts to a good number during an office lottery for new members of Congress on Capitol Hill November 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. AFP
US Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) reacts to a good number during an office lottery for new members of Congress on Capitol Hill November 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. AFP

Democratic Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman voted into Congress, is planning to take a delegation of American politicians to the West Bank as a counter to pro-Israeli lobby group tours.

"I want us to see that segregation [between Israelis and Palestinians] and how that has really harmed us being able to achieve real peace in that region,” Ms Tlaib told The Intercept. “I don’t think AIPAC provides a real, fair lens into this issue."

"It’s one-sided," she said. "[They] have these lavish trips to Israel, but they don’t show the side that I know is real, which is what’s happening to my grandmother and what’s happening to my family there.”

She said she plans to take the delegation to Beit Ur Al Foqa, the village home to her grandmother.

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The Michigan Democrat also came out in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a global campaign that advocates for economic sanctions against Israel for its occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories that the Palestinians seek for any future state.

“I personally support the BDS movement,” she said. She said such boycotts helped to shed light on "issues like the racism and the international human rights violations by Israel right now".

US Vice President Mike Pence recently sided with Israel in the row over home rental site Airbnb's decision to delist properties located in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He said such boycotts, as declared by the American company, had no place in the US market.