Rashida Tlaib calls terrorist killing of Israeli teen ‘tragic’
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Rashida Tlaib calls terrorist killing of Israeli teen ‘tragic’

After IfNotNow blames ‘rightward drift’ of Israeli and US governments for deadly attack, lawmaker sends condolences to Rina Shnerb’s family, urges nonviolent end to occupation

US Democratic Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district Rashida Tlaib attends "Shabatt in the Park with Rashida" event on August 16, 2019 in Pallister Park in Detroit, Michigan. (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP)
US Democratic Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district Rashida Tlaib attends "Shabatt in the Park with Rashida" event on August 16, 2019 in Pallister Park in Detroit, Michigan. (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP)

Democratic US Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan on Friday weighed in on the terrorist killing of Israeli teenager Rina Shnerb, saying that the attack was “tragic” and calling for an end to Israel’s presence in the West Bank.

“This is absolutely tragic & horrible. My heart goes out to Rina’s family. More than ever we need to support nonviolent approaches to ending the Israeli occupation and guaranteeing equal rights for all. Extremism that puts innocent lives at risk moves us no closer to peace,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter.

Tlaib was responding to a tweet from the left-wing Jewish group IfNotNow, which blamed the attack on the “rightward drift of Israeli and US” governments.

A terrorist bombing killed Shnerb, 17, while she was hiking to a popular West Bank spring on Friday. The explosion injured her father, Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, and her brother, Dvir.

The teenager was critically wounded in the attack and received treatment at the scene from civilian and military medics before being pronounced dead of her injuries. She was buried later Friday in her home town of Lod.

An improvised explosive device was used in the attack, the IDF said. Police sappers determined that the bomb had been planted earlier at the Bubin Spring, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of the city of Modiin, and was triggered remotely when the family approached. No group has yet claimed responsibility, and Israeli officials have yet to indicate who could have been behind it.

The father was later pronounced in moderate, stable condition. The 19-year-old son was severely wounded, unconscious and connected to a respirator.

Rina Shnerb, 17, who was killed in a terror attack in the West Bank on August 23, 2019 (courtesy)

Israel on August 15 barred Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota from visiting Jerusalem and the West Bank over their support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, sparking a major rift between the US and Israel.

Under Israeli law, BDS supporters can be prevented from entering the country.

Tlaib, a US-born Palestinian-American from Michigan, had also planned to visit her aging grandmother in the West Bank. Israeli officials later relented and accepted her subsequent request to visit her 90-year-old grandmother with the promise that she would not engage in boycott-Israel activities, but Tlaib then declined after being heavily criticized by Palestinian groups for agreeing to Israel’s terms for a family visit.

In a Monday press conference on her denied entry to Israel, Tlaib likened Israel to apartheid South Africa, saying that “history repeats itself” since South Africa had also denied entry to a US lawmaker.

Tlaib and Omar on Thursday raised the ire of US Representative Jerrold Nadler for sharing a cartoon that shows US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu covering their mouths. The cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, participated in an anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoon competition sponsored by an Iranian newspaper in 2006.

“The growing anti-Semitism in our political dialogue is repugnant. @realdonaldtrump’s comments about disloyalty are a vicious and dangerous anti-Semitic trope. And the Carlos Latuff cartoon forwarded by @RepRashida and @Ilhan can surely be read for its vile underlying message,” Nadler tweeted.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a press conference on August 19, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Image North America/AFP)

Tlaib and Omar are known as supporters of the BDS movement against Israel, a movement that seeks to force Israel through economic pressure and social and cultural ostracism to carry out its demands, which include dismantling its military presence in the West Bank. Supporters say the movement is a nonviolent way of protesting Israel’s 52-year military rule over the Palestinians, but Israel says it aims to delegitimize the state and eventually wipe it off the map.

Before Israel’s decision to bar the pair, Trump tweeted it would be a “show of weakness” to allow the two representatives in.

Trump’s recommendation to a foreign country to bar the entry of elected US officials — and Israel’s decision to do so — were unprecedented and drew widespread criticism, including from many Israelis as well as staunch supporters of Israel in Congress.

Critics said Netanyahu’s decision risked further driving a wedge into bipartisan support for Israel, and threatened to undermine ties between the close allies. Hebrew media reports claimed Netanyahu had been heavily pressured by Trump to block the two congresswomen.

Netanyahu said that while Israel respects all Congress members and has a policy of automatically granting them entrance to the country, it would not welcome those who back boycotts of the Jewish state.

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