Sitting under an olive tree in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Muftia Tlaib scoffs at the attention she has recently received from the president of the United States.
“May God ruin him,” she says.
Tlaib is the grandmother of U.S. congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, at the centre of an affair that has drawn Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu together against U.S. Democrats.
On Thursday, bowing to pressure from Trump, Israel barred a visit by Rashida Tlaib and fellow Democrat Ilhan Omar that it had initially said it would allow.
The next day, Israel said it would let Tlaib visit her family in the West Bank on humanitarian grounds – but Tlaib rejected the offer, saying that Israel had imposed restrictions meant to humiliate her.
On Friday night, Trump tweeted:
“Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!”
Ninety-year-old Muftia Tlaib, sitting in her garden in the village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa, was not impressed. “Trump tells me I should be happy Rashida is not coming,” she said. “May God ruin him.”
Her son, Rashida’s uncle Bassam Tlaib, said the women had not seen each other since 2006:
“She was going to slaughter a sheep when Rashida arrived and prepare her favourite food, stuffed vine leaves.