Tuesday, September 25, 2018

US shuts down PLO office


By Marc Henry - September 13, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [US foreign policy] [Peace Process]

US National Security adviser John Bolton on Monday announced that the Trump administration will shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) diplomatic mission in Washington. 

The closing of the office in Washington DC comes after the PLO failed to take “ steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” a statement released by the US State Department said.
 
US State Department’s Spokeswoman Heather Nauert added that since 2017, the PLO office had been permitted to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving peace between Israel and Palestine.
 
Furthermore, the decision to shut down the office is linked to Palestinian attempts to “prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court,” the press release states. The complaint to the ICC comes after the Israeli Supreme Court decision to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar.
 
On Tuesday Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian envoy to Washington, told the Associated Press that his staff had been given a month to pack up and leave the office.
 
The decision to close the office is seen as the latest step in a pressure campaign against Palestinian leadership to get them to comply with the upcoming Middle East peace proposal from the US.
 
In a press release on Monday secretary general of the Executive Committee of the PLO said that closing Palestine’s diplomatic mission in Washington is collective punishment against the Palestinian people.
 
“This is yet another affirmation of the Trump Administration’s policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people, including by cutting financial support for humanitarian services including health and education.”
 
Since December 2017, when the Trump administration announced the plans of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Trump has not hesitated to delve into the Palestinian Israeli conflict.
 
On August 24, the Trump administration announced a $200 million cut in aid to Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.
 
A week later the administration also announced that it was planning to cut all US funding to UNRWA, where the US as the largest single donor was responsible for providing about $350 million each year.
 
According to Palestinian officials, the Trump administration’s moves represent an attempt to inflict irreversible damage on their ambitions for a state, as Washington also effectively greenlights Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.
 
“This dangerous escalation shows that the US is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine as well as against peace and security in the rest of our region,” Erekat warned.

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