Palestinians shared sweet and sometimes harrowing stories of their grandmother's lives on social media Saturday after Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib announced she wouldn't be visiting her grandmother in the West Bank.
Tlaib announced Friday she would not visit her grandmother in the West Bank after Israel placed what she called "oppressive conditions" on her trip. The announcement came after Israel initially denied entry to Tlaib and Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, two Muslim Congresswomen, over their support of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, known as BDS.
"The Israeli government used my love and desire to see my grandmother to silence me and made my ability to do so contingent upon my signing a letter — reflecting just how undemocratic and afraid they are of the truth my trip would reveal about what is happening in the State of Israel and to Palestinians living under occupation with United States support," she said in the statement.
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement that Israel had decided to approve Tlaib's entry for "a humanitarian visit" to her grandmother.
"I approved her request as a gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis, but it was just a provocative request, aimed at bashing the State of Israel. Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother," Deri said in a tweet Friday.
In response, social media users took to Twitter to post the stories of their Palestinian grandmothers, many of whom survived war. The hashtag #MyPalestinianSitty began to trend, as "sitty" is the Arabic word for "my grandmother." Tlaib and Omar retweeted and liked many of the posts.
"#MyPalestinianSitty is trending and I am overcome with emotions realizing how we are finally humanizing one of the world’s most dehumanized peoples," Omar tweeted Saturday.
#MyPalestinianSitty fled to Jordan in 1967, on foot, with 8 of her children. Although she died never able to return to Palestine, she carried her people and her culture everywhere she went. She was the strongest, funniest and most courageous woman I’ve ever known. #RIPTeta pic.twitter.com/iNAEVBJNIc— Ramy Daoud (@RamyTheGiant) August 18, 2019
#MyPalestinianSitty survived the Deir Yassin massacre, the first village that was ransacked before the Nakba strikes with the purpose to set an example for other Palestinian villages if they didn’t surrender. Out of 600 villagers, over 200 were murdered. We will never forget. pic.twitter.com/5BNum6GeqF— ameer al-khatahtbeh (@boysaint) August 18, 2019
#MyPalestinianSitty My sitty lived & died in Palestine, an extraordinary woman. Her kids were held up against gun point by the IDF, jailed for unknown sentences not knowing where they were, & took her land. Israel tried to take everything from her but couldn’t take her strength. pic.twitter.com/gASRMfYYfQ— Iman (@Imaaaaaaaaan) August 18, 2019
#MyPalestinianSitty was my best friend. She was born in Yaffa, Palestine in 1927. She was forced to flee in 1948 & took her children to Lebanon as refugees. She passed this last April. I will go to Yaffa soon & bring sand back to her grave to honor her ❤️ pic.twitter.com/PraI5kaYVR— نوال (@spiderqueen420) August 18, 2019
Tlaib shared a photo of one of her grandmothers with the hashtag and wrote, "This was my other #MyPalestinianSitty who no one could mess with. She was proud of being from #BeitHanina and was one fierce woman.
Tlaib's living grandmother, Muftia Tlaib, told NBC News that she was sad her granddaughter wouldn't be able to visit her. Muftia Tlaib, who is in her 80s, said the two haven't seen each for about five or six years.
"I hope, inshallah, that she will come back," she said. "I’m waiting for her."