Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Trump admin closing Palestinian office in Washington

Trump admin closing Palestinian office in Washington

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.

"This is welcome news that President Trump and his administration have taken decisive steps to no longer tolerate the Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda by closing the PLO office in Washington, D.C.", said Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Chairman of Christians in Defense of Israel.

Palestinian Authority spokesperson Saeb Erekat slammed the decision as a "dangerous escalation" meant to "protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine" and called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open investigations into "Israeli crimes".

When George W. Bush took office in 2001, his administration promoted and passed the American Service Members Protection Act, which sought to immunize USA troops from potential prosecution by the ICC.

The move also comes as the US administration prepares to unveil a controversial Middle East peace plan known as the "Deal of the Century".

"The government regrets President Trump's administration taking this decision", government spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud said in a statement.

Trump also recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moved the U.S. Embassy there, from Tel Aviv.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday welcomed the U.S. decision to shut the Palestinian mission in Washington. "Israel supports the American steps which are meant to clarify to the Palestinians that refusing to negotiate and trying to attack Israel in global forums will not advance peace", Netanyahu said.

The Palestinian leadership condemned the latest U.S. move.

Several U.S. presidents in both parties have tried to broker a peace accord without success.

Donald Trump and his chief advisors on Israeli-Palestinian relations - his former real estate lawyer, his former bankruptcy lawyer, and his son-in-law - have shown no genuine interest in advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Previously, the Moroccan official participated in a special session of Arab Foreign ministers to discuss the crisis of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after the United States suspended its contributions. Khan al-Ahmar is situated outside Jerusalem between two Israeli settlements.

"The complaint stressed the importance of preventing Israel from demolishing and forcibly displacing the residents of Khan al-Ahmar."

According to reports, this decision is part of a widening USA pressure campaign on Palestinian officials amid stalled Middle East peace prospects and that the US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, is expected to announce the decision in several hours.

Zomlot was called home by Abbas in the spring as part of the crisis.

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