Prominent Palestinian official and activist Hanan Ashrawi was outraged to find her U.S. visa denied on Monday, according to the Associated Press. Ashrawi, who has long been a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and who has negotiated with multiple U.S. heads of state, has family in Washington, D.C. and visits regularly.
On Twitter, Ashrawi wrote about her relationship with the U.S. and her political work.
“I’ve always struggled for human rights and against corruption,” Ashrawi wrote in her Twitter thread. “I studied for my Ph.D. in the US; I’ve been a frequent visitor there since then; I’ve met (& even negotiated with) every Sec. of State since Shultz, & every President since George H. W. Bush (present administration excluded).”
She went on to discuss her disagreements with the Trump administration.
“I’ve been a vocal critic of this administration & its underlings; I believe in freedom of speech; I’ve always been searingly honest; I despise hypocrisy, misogyny, absolutist fundamentalism, populism, racism of all kinds, exclusivity, arrogance & condescension, power politics & militarism, cruelty in any form, & any sense of entitlement & exceptionalism,” she wrote.
“Most of all, I have no tolerance for the Israeli occupation in all its manifestations as a most pervasive form of oppression, dispossession & denial; I have no respect for the enablers of this inhuman condition nor for its apologists,” she continued. “I have a tremendous sense of love & protectiveness for the people of Palestine wherever they may be & am constantly humbled by their resilience & persistence in spite of all their pain; I also identify & stand in solidarity with all those who are suffering any injustice.”
“I’m guilty of all of the above, & as such this administration has decided I do not deserve to set foot in the US. I just hope someone can explain this to my grandchildren & all the rest of my family there,” Ashrawi added.
Ashrawi says there was no reason given for the denial. She planned to visit the U.S. to give talks at universities and think tanks, as well as to visit her family.
When asked about the denial, a U.S. State Department official told The National that “visa records are confidential under US law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.”
“Whenever an individual applies for a US visa, a consular officer reviews the facts of the case and determines whether the applicant is eligible for that visa based on US law,” they added.
The official clarified that the U.S. doesn’t decline visas based “solely on political statements or views if those statements or views would be lawful in the United States.”
Ashrawi has been vocal and loud about her dislike of the Trump administration and its policies in the Middle East. In February, she was involved in a heated Twitter conversation with US envoy to the Irsaeli-Palestinian peace process Jason Greenblatt, who invited her to speak with him at the White House.
Guess that’s not happening!
“Of course,” the denial was political, Ashrawi said when asked by AP. She called the decision the result of “pettiness and vindictiveness.”
The Palestinian Authority suspended diplomatic ties with the Trump administration last year after the decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which Palestinians saw as an effort to delegitimize them. Trump has also slashed aid to Gaza and the West Bank and shut the U.S. consulate that oversaw Palestinian-U.S. relations.