Trump Administration to Close PLO Office in Washington

The Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington on Monday, citing the refusal of Palestinian leaders to enter into peace talks with Israel as the reason for closing the office, CNBC informed.

The U.S. has yet to present its plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Palestinians accused the administration of dismantling decades of U.S. engagement with them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, former negotiators said the administration was undermining a longstanding framework for resolving the conflict.

“They are dismantling the traditional American architecture to create a two-state solution,” said Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center, who worked on Arab-Israeli negotiations at the State Department under various presidential administrations for more than two decades.

Miller said that on the three core issues – the status of Jerusalem, the territorial dimensions of a Palestinian state and how to deal with Palestinian refugees – U. S. policy is being fundamentally realigned.

After the State Department announcement on the PLO office, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, launched a broadside against The Hague-based International Criminal Court. Bolton declared that the ICC “is already dead” to the U.S. He also threatened the court and its staff with sanctions if it proceeds with investigations into alleged war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan.

The closure of the PLO office, which is the latest in a series of moves targeting the Palestinians, was centered on the fact that no “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel” are underway despite previous warnings, the State Department said.

The State Department also pointed out that the decision was also in line with U.S. law, a reflection of congressional concerns and consistent with U.S. policy to oppose and punish Palestinian attempts to bring Israel before the ICC.

The administration had told the Palestinians last year that closure was a distinct possibility unless they agreed to sit to down with the Israelis. It has yet to release its own much-vaunted but largely unknown peace plan although it said it still intends to do so.

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