Palestinians 'freeze' contacts with U.S. over DC office shutdown - minister

Jerome Frank
November 22, 2017

A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) confirmed that it had received instructions from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas "regarding closing down all communication lines with the Americans".

The United States wants the Palestine Liberation Organization to keep its Washington office open and is in talks with Palestinian officials about the issue despite a US decision that could trigger its closure, the State Department said on Tuesday.

In September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations called on the ICC "to open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people". "We respect the decision and look forward to continuing to work with the U.S. to advance peace and security in the region", said a statement issued Saturday night by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They further explained that the USA should allow the PLO office to continue its work in Washington and also remove the PLO from its list of terrorist organizations in order for contact to be resumed.

The Trump administration began to reconsider the move following threats by the Palestinian Authority's leadership that Ramallah would cut its ties with Washington, Maliki told the official Voice of Palestine radio station. "This unprecedented action threatens US-Palestinian relations, as well as the entire peace process", the ADC said, as cited by the Palestine News Agency, WAFA.

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USA officials cited comments by Abbas about possibly taking Israel to the International Criminal Court. "The Trump administration should stop pressuring Palestine to abandon support for a credible, long overdue path to justice".

A report Saturday said the Trump administration threatened to close down the group's office in Washington. It raises questions about the veracity of the anticipated US Middle East peace plan.

The Palestinians, however, said Saturday, that the decision to shut down the PLO office "disqualifies" the U.S. as mediator between Israel and Palestine, threatening to sever ties with Washington if it decides to proceed with its plans.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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