Israel’s government decided to bar two Democratic congresswomen from entering the country on Thursday, in an unprecedented move that is likely to reverberate through the halls of the US Congress.
Rashida Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin and has family in the West Bank, and Ilhan Omar were expected to arrive at the weekend for a visit to Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.
Both have supported the boycott movement against Israel, but Israeli law allows supporters of the campaign to be banned from visiting.
US President Donald Trump had put pressure on his ally, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to block the trip, saying it would have shown “great weakness” to allow it to go ahead.
Ms Omar described Israel’s move as “an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation”.
Ms Omar and Ms Tlaib have both been criticised for their stance on Israel – but have denied charges of being anti-Semitic.