U.S. Immigration Blocks Musician M.I.A. Entry Into Country
And U.S. immigration officials have blocked the Sri Lankan music star known as M.I.A. from entering the country to visit or work. The artist wrote a message to her fans online saying “I’m locked out! They wont let me in. Now I’m strictly making my album outside the borders!” M.I.A. was born in Britain but raised in Sri Lanka where her father was a founding member of the militant Tamil Tigers. Earlier this year, the editors of the Village Voice named her debut record the second best recording of 2005.
AIPAC Accuses Critic of Palestinian Bill Of Supporting Terrorists
Leading the lobbying effort for the bill has been AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has been accused of threatening lawmakers who oppose the legislation. Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota said an AIPAC activist warned her chief of staff that her “support for terrorists will not be tolerated.” McCollum said she is no longer allowing representatives from AIPAC in her office or to meet with her staff. McCollum has said she opposes the bill because it could destabilize the situation and heighten chances of a humanitarian crisis.
Israeli Forces Capture Leading Hamas Commander
Meanwhile, Israeli forces have captured the leader of the military wing of Hamas in the West Bank in a raid in Ramallah. The Israeli government has accused the man, Ibrahim Hamad, of masterminding a string of suicide bombings.
House to Vote on Anti-Palestinian Aid Bill
In Washington, the House is scheduled to vote today to ban direct U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian government and restrict money to private aid groups that operate in Gaza and the West Bank. The bill is expected to be overwhelmingly approved even though it does not have the support of the White House. According to the Knight Ridder news agency, the United States would only be allowed to provide limited humanitarian assistance to Palestinians through non-governmental organizations. Assistance beyond food, water, medicine and sanitation would require a presidential waiver.