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US Closes Palestinian Liberation Organization Office in Washington

Sputnik News

14:56 10.09.2018(updated 18:58 10.09.2018)

The US State Department officially announced the closure of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's (PLO) office in Washington, DC Monday, vowing to continue efforts in the peace process between Israel and Palestine.

"The Administration has determined after careful review that the office of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington should close," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced in a press release on Monday.

Earlier in the day, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat stated that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had received a notice from the United States about the closure of its diplomatic mission in Washington, which the organization believes is just another move aimed at undermining the international legal system in favor of Israel,.

"We have been informed by a US official about their decision to close the Palestinian mission in the United States… This is a dangerous escalation which demonstrates the United States' readiness to dismantle the international system in order to defend Israeli crimes, and attacks on the Palestinian land and people, attacks on peace and security across the region," Erekat said in a statement.

The official recalled that the Palestinians had rejected US mediation of their failed peace talks with Israel after Washington decided to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem, and noted that the Palestinians would not back down.

"We reaffirm that the rights of the Palestinians cannot be sold, we will not give in to threats and intimidation by the United States. We will continue our legitimate fight for freedom, justice and independence with the use of all possible political and legal means," Erekat pointed out.

Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a draft statement of US National Security Adviser John Bolton, that Washington would announce later on Monday the PLO mission's closure

over the Palestinians' alleged unwillingness to return to the negotiating table with the Israelis.

In May, the United States relocated its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in line with the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The US move provoked outrage among the Palestinians and the Muslim world as a whole. The Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, said that the PA no longer accepted the United States' role as a mediator in its peace process with Israel.


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