The US State Department denied Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi an entry visa May 13. A State Department official told the Associated Press that the United States “does not refuse visas based solely on people’s political views or statements,” but Ashrawi and others believe the visa denial is a blatantly political act.
One can’t help but recall the words of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who, speaking to students at Texas A&M University on April 15, said, “I was a CIA director, we lied, we cheated we stole … we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.” Though Pompeo was referring to the actions of the CIA, the State Department may be engaged in similar tactics when it says that the denial of Ashrawi’s visa was not a political act. Ashrawi told the Associated Press that “of course,” it was a political act, and one that was full of “pettiness and vindictiveness.”
Husam Zomlot, a former Palestinian representative in Washington DC and current ambassador to the UK, told Al-Monitor that the Donald Trump administration wants “to delegitimize our national struggle and reframe the conflict as a local Israeli one. They want to address Palestinian needs but not Palestinian rights, while at the same time they want to legitimize Israel’s so-called divine rights.”