AFP Reports Palestinians threatened Saturday to freeze their relations with the United States if they close the representation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington.
“We will suspend all our communications with the US administration” if it closes the Palestinian mission in the United States, said in a video posted on Twitter the secretary general of the PLO Saeb Erekat.
For the first time since the 1980s, the United States refused to renew the authorization for the PLO to have representation in Washington, a decision interpreted as a means of pressure on the Palestinians in the peace process. the Israelis.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO is seen by the international community as the organization representing the Palestinian people.
“The Palestinian Authority received a letter two days ago from the State Department (US) stating that the Secretary of State had not found sufficient reasons to keep the (PLO) office open,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP on Saturday.
“This has never happened in the past and we asked the State Department and the White House for clarification,” he added.
– To undermine the peace process –
“At a time when we are striving to cooperate to reach an agreement (peace with the Israelis), they decide on such steps that are likely to undermine the entire peace process,” said Erekat, accusing US decision to Israeli pressure.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a matter of “American law”.
In the absence of authorization, the office of the PLO may continue to operate “reduced” for another 90 days.
This is the maximum time for President Donald Trump to determine whether Palestinians “have engaged in direct and serious negotiations with Israel,” said a State Department official.
The United States “does not break relations with the PLO, nor intend to stop working with the Palestinian Authority,” said the official.
“We remain focused on a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians that will solve the key issues between the two sides.”
The Palestinian representation must obtain an operating permit every six months for its office in the US capital.
The State Department official also explained that “some statements made by Palestinian leaders on the International Criminal Court” (ICC) were behind the non-renewal decision.
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