Dr. Ashrawi: “By refusing to extend the waiver of statutory restrictions on the PLO General Delegation in Washington D.C., the U.S. is disqualifying itself as a peace broker in the region”

Ramallah/PNN/

In response to media inquiries concerning the U.S. administration’s refusal to extend the waiver of statutory restrictions on the General Delegation of the PLO to the United States in Washington D.C., PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi condemned such a move and said:

“Instead of holding Israel liable for its persistent violations of international law and conventions, the U.S. administration and Congress are threatening to punish the Palestinian people because of statements made by President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations and other leaders pertaining to ICC accountability for Israel and for its war crimes in Palestine.

It is ironic that the U.S. is taking steps to punish the victim (the occupied) and not the perpetrator of the crime (the occupier).

Conditioning the renewal of the waiver on the Palestinians’ sticking to ‘direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel’ is actually superfluous since negotiations are nonexistent, and the current U.S. administration has yet to present any kind of peace initiative.

After decades of negotiations, contacts and cooperation, it is unfathomable why American relations with the PLO have not been legally normalized and why the PLO, which is the highest political body in Palestine representing all Palestinians, continues to be subject to that statute, hence to blackmail and coercion.

The Palestinian leadership has been negotiating with Israel for decades and has consistently abided by international law and signed agreements while Israel persisted in violating them without accountability or constraints.

Yet, it is the PLO that continues to be placed on probation and unfairly judged while Israel is given preferential treatment and license to act with full impunity.

If President Donald Trump decides not to renew the waiver after ninety days, the U.S. will embolden Israel even further and provide it with greater cover for its lack of compliance and unilateral actions.

Such a measure will also disqualify the U.S. from taking any part in peacemaking and undermine its standing in the region and beyond.

If it wants to be evenhanded and play any constructive role, the U.S. government should first break its deafening silence on the illegal settlements and maintain longstanding American policy on the two-state solution and the 1967 boundaries.

Recognition of Palestine would go a long way towards proving that the U.S. holds all people equal before the law.”

AP : US Puts Palestinians on Notice that there DC Office May Be Shuttered

Isreal running US foreign policy?

WASHINGTON /By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Trump administration put the Palestinians on notice Friday 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.

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 the president 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 be identified by name and requested anonymity.