U.S. Threat to Close Washington Office Is ‘Extortion’ : Palestinian Official

The flag of the Palestine Liberation Organization is seen above its offices in Washington. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
The flag of the Palestine Liberation Organization is seen above its offices in Washington. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has put the Palestinians on notice that it will shutter their office in Washington unless they’ve entered serious peace talks with Israel, U.S. officials said, potentially giving President Donald Trump more leverage as he seeks an elusive Mideast peace deal.

The Palestinian foreign minister denounced the U.S. move as an attempt at “extortion.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians ran afoul of an obscure provision in a U.S. law that says the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. A State Department official said that in September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas crossed that line by calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis.

But the law leaves Trump a way out, so Tillerson’s declaration doesn’t necessarily mean the office will close.

Trump now has 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” If Trump determines they are, the Palestinians can keep the office. The official said it was unclear whether the U.S. might close the office before the 90-day period expires, but said the mission remains open at least for now.

Even if the office closes, the U.S. said it wasn’t cutting off relations with the Palestinians and was still focused on “a comprehensive peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” The State Department official said in an email that “this measure should in no way be seen as a signal that the U.S. is backing off those efforts.” The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the developments and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad Malki, told Palestine Radio that the Palestinian leadership “will not accept any extortion or pressure.” Malki said the Palestinians were waiting for further communication from the U.S. government. “The ball is now in the American court,” he said.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Although the Israelis and Palestinians are not engaged in active, direct negotiations, Trump’s administration has been working all year to broker a peace deal that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior aide, White House officials have been preparing a peace proposal they intend to put forward at an unspecified time.

The Palestinians, though publicly supportive of the U.S. effort, have been skeptical because Trump’s close ties to Israel suggest whatever deal he proposes might be unfavorable to them. The threat of losing their office in the U.S. capital could become another pressure point as the Trump administration seeks to persuade the Palestinians to come to the table.

The PLO is the group that formally represents all Palestinians. Although the U.S. does not recognize Palestinian statehood, the PLO maintains a “general delegation” office in Washington that facilitates Palestinian officials’ interactions with the U.S. government.

The United States allowed the PLO to open a mission in Washington in 1994, a move that required then-President Bill Clinton to waive a law that said the Palestinians couldn’t have an office. In 2011, under the Obama administration, the United States started letting the Palestinians fly their flag over the office, an upgrade to the status of their mission that the Palestinians hailed as historic.

Israel opposes any Palestinian membership in United Nations-related organizations until a peace deal has been reached.

The Trump administration has not revealed any details about its effort to bring about a peace deal that would ostensibly grant the Palestinians an independent state in exchange for an end to its conflict with the Israelis. But Kushner and other top Trump aides have been shuttling to the region to meet with Palestinians, Israelis and officials from neighboring Arab nations as it prepares to put forward a peace plan.

The requirement that the PLO office be closed if the Palestinians back an International Criminal Court move came in a little-noticed provision in U.S. law that says the United States can’t allow the Palestinians to have a Washington office if they try to “influence a determination by the ICC to initiate a judicially authorized investigation, or to actively support such an investigation, that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians.”

Abbas, the Palestinian leader, said in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly in September that the Palestinians had “called on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people.”

The U.S. law says that if the government determines the Palestinians have breached that requirement, it triggers a 90-day review period in which the president must decide whether to let the office stay open anyway. The president is allowed to waive the requirement only if he certifies to Congress “that the Palestinians have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

The provision doesn’t explicitly define what would constitute direct or meaningful negotiations.

TIME

  • vs

    Egypt police arrest singer Shyma over racy video. You can find video here: https://lenta.ru/news/2017/11/19/banana/

  • Hannibal

    The preferential treatment for the zionist entity is uncanny… If that is the case why don’t you shut down the Israeli’s embassy as well. This is a case of the aggressor becoming the victim and vice versa. I have been advocating for a two states solution since the beginning of the conflict yet the insistence of warmongers such as nutandyahoodi on grabbing property illegally keeps the Palestinians away from the negotiating table. It is shameful that the Trump administration goes on wrestling the PA into submission while they are the aggressed. At the end, a one state solution will be the demise of Israel a la South Africa.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bykj8Y1EgjI

    • Y K

      Is dabka “Phoenician”, too? 🙂

      • Hannibal

        Of course! It’s origin dates back to Phoenicians while building residences. It is very well documented.

        • Y K

          “It’s origin dates back to Phoenicians while building residences.” (sic)

          Do you write in “Phoenician” as well? Sadly, not many people here who can actually understand it. 🙂

          • vs

            We can write in Phoenician a bit: ???????????????? (Cnaan)

          • Hannibal

            Do you understand this? Rou7 ballit el ba7er ya ayyour… Now THAT is Phoenician!

        • Hind Abyad

          “History

          Men dancing dabke, 1880
          The Palestinian dabkeh jumps may or may not have origins in age-old Canaanite fertility rites which reflected the increasing growth of plants. They were used to scare away evil forces and to protect the security and growth of seedlings.[8]

          According to Yazbec, the Phoenicians were the first teachers of the dance in the world, and the dabke is a representative descendant of the Phoenician dances.[9]

          According to one folk tradition, the dance originated in the Levant where houses were built from stone with a roof made of wood, straw and dirt. The dirt roof had to be compacted which required stomping the dirt hard in a uniform way to compact it evenly. This event of cooperation is called ta’awon and from here comes the word awneh, meaning “help.” This developed into the song Ala Dalouna (Arabic: على دلعونا‎), roughly translated, “Let’s go and help”. The dabke and the rhythmic songs go together in an attempt to keep the work fun and useful.”
          Wikipedia

          • Hannibal

            Right on… But you missed one point. The dirt used on the roof was zionist remains. he he

          • Rudy1947

            I guess the Arabs were ki!!ing Jews in 1880. Thanx for confirming.

          • Hannibal

            You got it wrong… Jews and Aramaic were killing each others since 2000 BC. Arabs had nothing to do with it. Jericho? Bible? Ah yup I forgot you do not know history.

          • Rudy1947

            Yada yada. We’re talking 1880 in case you weren’t aware.

          • Hannibal

            I’m not… I am talking about the Phoenicians with Hind until your looooooong nose stepped in between without an invitation.

          • Rudy1947

            I’m not, I’m talking to you about 1880.

          • Hind Abyad

            Crook and MaImequer0 step in without invitation.

          • Rudy1947

            No invitations required.

          • Hind Abyad

            No class required

          • Hannibal

            Precious…

          • Hind Abyad

            Now the’re defending their Wahhabi cousins
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkcYAOs9W-E

          • Hind Abyad

            “You got it wrong… Jews and Aramaic were killing each others since 2000 BC. Arabs had nothing to do with it. Jericho? Bible? Ah yup I forgot you do not know history”.

      • Hannibal

        Now answer me this: Is middle eastern cuisine Israeli? Half the restaurents here selling Hummus are Israelis who stole a culture and made it their own. 😉

        • Y K

          You know the answer already, pal. It’s always the same, and involves a stream of warm yellowish liquid hitting your face. 🙂

          • Hind Abyad

            Great intellect? Just a vulgar liar and thief.

          • Y K

            Thief?? Dunno where this is coming from. I’d never, ever touch any of your stuff. Is probably toxic. 🙂

          • Rainbow Sponge

            Her “stuff” is locked in with a secret code (514).

          • Hind Abyad
          • Rudy1947

            Others know you well.

          • Hind Abyad

            I know you and MaImequer well..when he targets me 514 i respond, he know my email to fill it up with Dany Norha fitness links i never subscribed for, all day in 2 days. I’m not the stalker cookie.
            “MaImequer0 Hind Abyad • 2 years ago
            LOL sweetie… more of the usual crazy lies… And, there is now way that you have a husband or son (you are far too ugly, inside and out).. unless of course they are imaginary like all your other fictional characters…
            However, your terrorist supporting hate can get you in jail now, C51… and, even better, C24, you can be kicked out of Montreal and Canada!!! No anchor baby, real or imagined, and no fake Canadian husband can save you now!!! LOL Nobody cares that you used to sleep with your cousins and it’s not to hard to imagine why your lesbian aunts abandoned you.
            But you are correct on one point… Cookie, Barabie and I did issue orders to Harper, We reminded him that we own Canada and he promised to do exactly as we say.” So go to hell crookie

          • Rudy1947

            Check your closet sweetheart, I’m there now. If not in body but your imagination.

          • Rainbow Sponge

            She slept with her cousins…

          • Hind Abyad

            @YaLibnan
            @Rainbow Sponge about me” She slept with her cousins…”

          • Hind Abyad

            Were you there? Tic toc..Tic toc

          • Hind Abyad

            It’s your closet too cookie

          • Hind Abyad

            Re- It’s your closet too cookie;-)

          • Rudy1947

            When were the nuptials? Don’t remember the nuptials consummated .

          • Hind Abyad

            Wrong reply, if you Insist i’l remember it for you 😉

          • Rudy1947

            Whatever floats your boat.

          • Hind Abyad

            OK.

          • Hind Abyad

            Dunno what your doing here?
            Allied with the Assouad Saudi Moslem Brotherhood..

            Revealing now its ” connections ” to Israel Saudia Arabia
            raises the doubts whether or not it has had anything to do with the assassination of the father of Saad el Hariri,,,,,or not ??” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d312d093d9b1abd023f66444a958012ddfd33e220457af55be88fb3e06d9c1d5.jpg

          • Rudy1947

            Another conspiracy theory. Ya know I’m thinking you have more knowledge of the Hariri assassination and the operations pertaining to it. Where were you in 2005?

          • Rainbow Sponge

            Her existence drove someone to insanity and led them to commit the crime. She’s guilty of transferred malice.

          • Hind Abyad

            Are you looking for a lawyer? Al Jazeera drove you to insanity? A virtual existence you put on Price Tag was your crime?
            She died 2 weeks later of heart attack, you’re crazy, who can trust Zionists they have no respect for life.
            Israel is the children kidnapping capital of the World.

          • Hind Abyad

            Politics is filled with conspiracy you call “theories”
            Experts in Lebanon are used to them..
            الوحي الآن على “صلات ” بإسرائيل

            #المملكة العربية #السعودية تثير الشكوك, سواء أم لا,
            كان لها أي علاقة بالاغتيال والد سعد #الحريري ،،،، ؟؟

          • Rudy1947

            I don’t speak the lingo, sweetheart. Speaking another language confirms my “conspiracy theory” about you. Keep confirming…..

          • Hind Abyad

            “Revealing now its ” connections ” to Israel Saudia Arabia
            raises the doubts whether or not it has had anything to do with
            the assassination of the father of Saad el Hariri,,,,,or not ??”
            Translated up^there.

          • Rascal

            It does NOT raise doubts. There is way too much evidence against Hezbollah. They are guilty as sin.
            They are, in fact, a proven jihad terrorist mafia whether you chose to acknowledge the evidence or not.

          • Hind Abyad

            Will see the evidence.. meanwhile Israel is the children kidnapping Capital of the World, whether you chose to acknowledge the evidence or not.

          • vs

            Not English are not welcomed on yalibnan

          • Hannibal

            Vulgar and cowardly.

          • Hannibal

            When cornered while starting a discussion trash cannot answer intelligently so he resort to vulgarities. Trash begets trash (yes that is your mother).
            More Phoenician for you: rakkib YK 3ala vs waa7ad bye7bal be baghil w teene bye7bal be b3iir.

          • Y K

            “Cornered”? You couldn’t corner a 95-year old with Alzheimer’s. 🙂

    • Rainbow Sponge
  • Rainbow Sponge

    Incoming butthurt in 5, 4, 3, 2…

  • Rudy1947

    Thought I would check out the location PLO office in DC. Not exactly Embassy row. Essentially a small business area with a pawn shop, a couple of small bistros, a couple of salons and a pizza joint.

    • Niemals

      How much one pays for this kind of location? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ea0cff76c88f51a910dda34f9de6cca5a67819fb95318f1eb611b081140e5e20.jpg Is it the entire building that the PLO offices are leasing in Washington, DC?

      • Rudy1947

        Washington DC…Georgetown……not cheap. Unlike Embassy Row this area is commercial real estate, fluctuating values but on the lower end.

        • Niemals

          Is the money coming from our (EU) financial support to the PLO?

          • Hannibal

            Our? you have nothing. You are just another welfare parasite.

          • Rudy1947

            Who knows, maybe the employees of the “office” wait tables at the restaurants.

    • Y K

      Way too fancy for them. Is there an available location close to some toxic waste dump? 🙂

      • Rudy1947

        Nevada has a place where the US tested their nukes. The PaliArabs could build on the cheap for sure.

      • Rainbow Sponge

        Kill Buck Road, Great Valley, NY. I don’t know about a toxic waste dump, but I hear there’s a buck cemetery just round the corner.

        • Rudy1947

          Hope they like snow!

  • Hind Abyad

    “Israeli chief of staff gives first ever interview to Saudi media. Israel so desperate
    to reveal Israeli-KSA collusion, yet Saudis terrified to show it. Like a cheating husband
    w/ a seedy mistress – doomed to live in shadows and stink of vice.”
    Sharmine Narwani
    Lebanese jourbalistWriter
    commentator & analyst covering Middle East geopolitics;
    Former Senior Associate, St Antony’s College, Oxford U.

  • Y K

    “U.S. Threat to Close Washington Office Is ‘Extortion’”

    Since the PLO is basically a mafia-type outfit, extortion is the only language it understands. 🙂