PNA suspends contacts with U.S. over closure of PLO Washington office

Helayne Seidman

Helayne Seidman

Former US Secretary of State, John Kerry, launched another attack on Israel by claiming that the government in Tel Aviv has no interest in fostering peace with the Palestinians.

Most Israelis remain convinced that US President Donald Trump is cut from a different cloth than former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

"Communications with the consulate in Jerusalem and meetings between American and Palestinian officials in Palestine are now frozen because of the decision not to renew the PLO office in Washington's certification", Majdi al-Khalidi, Abbas's diplomatic affairs adviser told The Post.

"Meetings with the American side will be useless while they are closing our office in Washington", he said, adding "the meetings between us and the Americans are basically coordinated through our PLO office there", he said.

The State Department has refused to renew permission for the PLO to operate its office in Washington, D.C., for the first time since in about three decades.

PNC president, Salim Zanoon, said in a statement that the United States decision is an attempt to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians against pursing Israel for its crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the International Criminal Court. It could antagonize an administration they already suspect is biased toward Israel and cut put millions of dollars of critical US aid in jeopardy.

"This is temporary until they clarify to us, if the office is closed or open". If Trump determines they are, then the mission can reopen, officials said.

A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) confirmed that it had received instructions from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas "regarding closing down all communication lines with the Americans".

In response, the Israeli prime minister's office said, "We respect the decision and look forward to continuing to work with the U.S.to advance peace and security in the region". Still, a waiver would have to be signed every six months. But Trump's team, led by Kushner in his role as senior White House adviser, is working to broker a deal aimed at settling the intractable conflict. On Saturday, Palestinians threatened to suspend all communication with the United States if the Trump administration follows through with plans to close their diplomatic office in Washington.

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

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