Image copyright AFP Image caption The Palestine Liberation Organisation opened its office in Washington in 1994 The US is to close the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s mission in Washington, Palestinian officials say.The PLO is the internationally-recognised representative of the Palestinian people. It opened its office in the US capital in 1994.PLO secretary general, Saeb Erekat, called…
The US is to close the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s mission in Washington, Palestinian officials say.
The PLO is the internationally-recognised representative of the Palestinian people. It opened its office in the US capital in 1994.
PLO secretary general, Saeb Erekat, called the planned move a “dangerous escalation”.
The US national security adviser, John Bolton, is set to announce the closure in a speech.
He will reportedly cite the Palestinians’ efforts to persuade the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged Israeli crimes, and their “refusal” to resume peace talks.
“The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel,” he will say, according to a draft seen by the Wall Street Journal.
“The United States supports a direct and robust peace process, and we will not allow the ICC, or any other organisation, to constrain Israel’s right to self-defence.”
How have the Palestinians responded?
In a statement issued before Mr Bolton’s speech, Mr Erekat said: “This dangerous escalation shows that the US is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine as well as against peace and security in the rest of our region.”
“We reiterate that the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to US threats and bullying and that we will continue our legitimate struggle for freedom, justice, and independence, including by all political and legal means possible.”
Mr Erekat insisted Palestinians would continue to call upon the ICC to open a full investigation.
There was no immediate response from the Israeli government.
What other steps has the US taken?
On Saturday, a state department official said that following a review President Trump had ordered that $25m (£19m) allocated for the care of Palestinians at six hospitals in East Jerusalem “go to high-priority projects elsewhere”.
The head of the East Jerusalem Hospital Network warned on Monday that the decision to cut funding put “the health of five million Palestinians at risk”.
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