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11th-Sep-2018

Trump admin to close PLO office in Washington, DC

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Al Jazeera News :
The United States will shut the Palestine Liberation Organisation's diplomatic office in Washington, DC, over the Palestinian government's refusal to enter into US-led negotiations with Israel.
"We have been notified by a US official of their decision to close the Palestinian mission to the US," PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said in a statement on Monday.
"This is yet another affirmation of the Trump administration's policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people, including by cutting financial support for humanitarian services including health and education."
According to a draft text of a speech seen by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, will also reportedly threaten the International Criminal Court (ICC) with sanctions if it carries out investigations into the US and Israel.
"The United States    will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel," Bolton is expected to say in his speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative group, in Washington, DC.
"The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel."
The speech is also expected to say that the Trump administration "will fight back" if the ICC formally proceeds with opening an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by US service members and intelligence professionals during the war in Afghanistan.
If such a probe proceeds, the Trump administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the US, put sanctions on any funds they have in the US financial system and prosecute them in US courts.
"We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us," the draft text said.
The action against the PLO, which serves as the main entity representing the Palestinian people, is the latest in a series of measures by the Trump administration against the Palestinian leadership. Over the past year, Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, has repeatedly questioned Mahmoud Abbas' commitment to peace and Trump's so-called "ultimate deal".