Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Arab League condemns closure of PLO office in Washington

US National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks at a press conference in Jerusalem US National Security Adviser John Bolton speaks at a press conference in Jerusalem
Gerardo Duncan | 13 September, 2018, 17:01

The administration's move to close the PLO office in Washington is not directly connected to the Trump White House's opposition to the International Criminal Court, although the administration is trying to link them.

The Trump administration's latest measures against the Palestinians and their leadership are an attack on prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

She also said the closure decision was consistent with USA concerns about Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court. They say that given the recent moves by Washington, a pending US peace plan will be dead on arrival.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents several people who claim they were detained and tortured in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2008 and could be victims or witnesses in any ICC prosecution, said Bolton's threats were "straight out of an authoritarian playbook".

Trump has promised to pursue the "ultimate deal" between the Palestinians and Israel.

"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", he in a statement.

In Bush's second term, the USA attitude toward the ICC shifted slightly as the world looked on in horror at genocide being committed in Sudan's western Darfur region. "They are no longer partners in the peace process", Erekat said. "We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the United States criminal system", Bolton said.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates also condemned the United States decision and said in a statement on Monday that it will not stop Palestinian efforts to take Israel to worldwide courts.

The U.S. does not now recognize the Palestinian territories as an independent state, though the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in 2012 to recognize Palestine as a "non-member observer state".

"The United States made the right decision to close the PLO offices", Netanyahu said.

Palestinian leaders say the administration is blatantly biased in favor of Israel and is seeking to blackmail Ramallah into accepting the White House's moves.

Over the weekend, it announced it would cut $25 million in assistance for hospitals in east Jerusalem that provide critical care to Palestinian patients.

"We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and we will prosecute them in the USA criminal system", he will add.

In August, the U.S. State Department announced a decision to "redirect" economic aid to the Palestinians that are worthy of more than 200 million U.S. dollars.

UNRWA was founded after the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation to serve some 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were uprooted from their homes.

Hamas militants control Gaza, and the US said the militants were endangering "lives of Gaza's citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation". The Palestinian Authority uses much of its foreign aid to support and promote terrorism.

"This misguided and harmful policy will only further isolate the United States from its closest allies and give solace to war criminals and authoritarian regimes seeking to evade worldwide accountability", the ACLU said. PLO President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to do so.

On the other hand, Senior Vice President of Research for the Federation of Defense of Democracies Jonathan Schanzer argued the shut out is justified because of how complex Palestinian representation has become.

The court has been hobbled by the refusal of the U.S., Russia, China and other major nations to join.

Ankara ordered out Israel's ambassador in May after Israeli soldiers killed dozens of unarmed protestors along the border with the Gaza Strip.

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