Palestinians denounce Trump tweets against hometown hero Tlaib
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Palestinians denounce Trump tweets against hometown hero Tlaib

Palestinian Authority says US president’s remarks about Michigan congresswoman are an ‘insult to the Statue of Liberty’

US Rep. Rashida Tlaib, (Democrat-Michigan), center, testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, in Washington, DC, July 12, 2019. (McNamee/Getty Images/ AFP)
US Rep. Rashida Tlaib, (Democrat-Michigan), center, testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, in Washington, DC, July 12, 2019. (McNamee/Getty Images/ AFP)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinians on Monday denounced US President Donald Trump’s attack on US Rep. Rashida Tlaib, accusing him of racism and saying it once again proves his bias against the Palestinian people.

Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was one of four congresswomen of color who were targeted in a Trump Twitter barrage over the weekend.

Trump said the women should go back to the “broken and crime infested” places they came from, ignoring the fact that all are American citizens and three of the four, including Tlaib, were born in the US. Trump also accused them of saying “terrible things” about the US and said they “hate Israel.”

Although Tlaib has never lived in the West Bank, she has relatives in the area and is widely seen as a local hero for making her way to the highest levels of American government.

Bassam Tlaib, an uncle of the congresswoman who lives in the West Bank, called the president’s comments “a racist statement meant to target Rashida because she has Palestinian roots.”

“This statement proves that Trump is anti-Palestinian, anti-Islam and completely biased toward Israel,” he added.

US President Donald Trump speaks on the US-Canada-Mexico trade agreement at Derco Aerospace Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 12, 2019. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP)

Ibrahim Milhim, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said Trump’s statement is an “insult” to the office of the presidency and the laws of the US.

“It’s an insult to the Statue of Liberty, America’s most famous symbol, an insult to the American values where migrants from all over the world are united as one nation under one law,” he said.

The Palestinians cut ties with the White House after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, and subsequently moved the American embassy to the contested city. The White House responded by shuttering the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and cutting hundreds of millions of dollars of aid.

The Palestinians have preemptively rejected Trump’s Mideast peace plan, accusing him of being unfairly biased toward Israel. They also boycotted last month’s conference in Bahrain, where the White House launched the economic portion of its plan.

It was not clear why Trump mentioned Israel in his latest tweets. Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota ignited a bipartisan uproar in Washington early this year when she suggested that members of Congress support Israel for money. Tlaib, meanwhile, has endorsed the Palestinian-led boycott movement against Israel.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 6, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Israel, on the other hand, has forged strong ties with Trump, who in addition to moving the embassy, has recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly praised Trump, drawing criticism, from opponents in Israel and some Jewish American groups, that he is politicizing and weakening what has traditionally been bipartisan support for his country in the US.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on Trump’s tweets. But Netanyahu’s son Yair, who serves as an unofficial adviser to his father, welcomed them.

“Thank you so much! You are the best friend the Jewish people ever had in the White House!” Yair Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

Yossi Shain, an expert on US-Israel relations at Tel Aviv University, said he was not surprised that Israel was dragged into the debate.

“Their hostility toward Trump, and the fact that Trump is in intimate relations with Netanyahu, make progressive voices in the US into Israel-haters,” he said.

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