Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) called on Israel to release the body of a Palestinian woman killed while attacking Israeli troops.

Tlaib said the Israeli military’s account of the death of Mai Afana in June was made “without proof” and said that Israel should release Afana’s body to bring closure to the family. Tlaib did not mention that Afana died after reportedly ramming her car into an Israeli military checkpoint in a suspected terror attack.

“Meet Mai Afana’s mother, Khuloud, who is fighting to be able to bury her daughter & begin her healing. Mai was a mother, loving daughter & successful PhD student. She was killed by the Israeli government last June. Israel won’t release her body to her family,” Tlaib said on Saturday. Afana was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers after ramming her car into a military checkpoint and threatening soldiers with a knife, injuring one.

“I am sharing Mai’s story because I began to only learn last year of this inhumane practice by the Israeli govt. Without proof, they make claims, and all to just continue to dehumanize Palestinians even after they have died. We must stand against this form of collective violence,” Tlaib continued. “The Palestinian people deserve the same dignity as any other human being. To deny the right to see their loved ones for a modicum of closure is another form of painful violence from the U.S. sponsored, Israeli arsenal. Mai’s dead body is one of hundreds being held.”

She then compared Afana to Ahmad Erekat, a 28-year-old man who died last year after ramming his car into an Israeli checkpoint in a suspected terror attack. Video of the incident showed Erekat swerving and accelerating his vehicle into a female Israeli police officer, launching her several feet. Another officer shot and killed Erekat as he exited his vehicle.

“I still remember the Erekat family’s plea last year to release their loving son, Ahmed’s body,” Tlaib said. [Human Rights Watch] and other human rights organizations have demanded an end to this disgusting practice, and the U.S. must join them in that demand.”

Under Israeli law, the government may withhold the bodies of suspected terrorists killed during attacks. Israel’s Knesset passed the law in 2018 to codify the ongoing practice adopted to prevent Palestinian communities from holding celebrations with the bodies of suspected terrorists and to use those bodies to trade for the bodies of Israeli soldiers and others held by the terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Tlaib’s call sparked backlash online as critics pointed out her omission and the reason for Afana’s death.

“Afana was killed while attempting a terrorist attack. Watching you shill for terrorists never ceases to gross me out,” said Erielle Davidson, a senior policy analyst for the Jewish Institute for National Security of America.

Writer Daniella Greenbaum Davis stated: “[Tlaib] is a shill for terrorists. And nobody cares. Why? Bc the people she wants dead are Jews.”

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