State Department to close PLO office; Cites refusal to negotiate with Israel, rejection of US peace efforts; PLO: This is yet another affirmation of the Trump administration’s policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people…
The Trump Administration announced on Monday that it would close the PL0 (Palestine Liberation Organization) office in Washington, citing the Palestinians refusal to negotiate with Israel and rejection of the United States’ peace plan efforts.
The announcement follows a series of measures by the Congress and the State Department to combat the Palestinian’s manipulation and tactics in delegitimizing Israel and advancing its efforts in global organizations.
Spokeswoman for the State Department, Heather Nauert, gave a statement on Monday announcing the closure of the office in Washington. She announced “The Administration has determined after careful review that the office of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington should close. We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017.”
She cited the reasons for the closure, mainly the Palestinian’s refusal to negotiate with Israel, stating “the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel. To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise.” She also cited “Congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.”
She added “The United States continues to believe that direct negotiations between the two parties are the only way forward. This action should not be exploited by those who seek to act as spoilers to distract from the imperative of reaching a peace agreement. We are not retreating from our efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu praised the Trump Administration’s decision, releasing the statement “The US made the correct decision regarding the PLO mission in Washington. Israel supports American actions that are designed to make it clear to the Palestinians that refusing to negotiate and attempts to attack Israel in international forums will not advance peace.”
The Palestinians referred to the closure of the PLO office as efforts to “collectively punish” the Palestinians by the Trump Administration. Secretary-General of the PLO, Saeb Erekat, stated “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.”
Amir will address these developments, as well as military operation in Idlib, Syria, the outcome of the Turkish-Iranian-Russian summit in Tehran last week, an update on upcoming ministry events and much more! Tune in for this week’s Middle East Current Events Update on Thursday, Sept 13, 2018 at 8:00 pm (Tel Aviv).