“Such a reckless act confirms that the administration is blindly executing Israel’s ‘wish list,’ which starts with shutting down Palestinian diplomatic representation in the US,” Zomlot charged.
The Palestinians reacted with rage to the US decision to shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) mission in Washington, with the head of the PLO General Delegation to the US Husam Zomlot describing the move as “reckless.”
“We condemn in the strongest terms the US administration’s decision to close the Palestinian mission to the US. However, we are not surprised,” he said in a statement Monday, according to the official Palestinian WAFA news agency.
“Such a reckless act confirms that the administration is blindly executing Israel’s ‘wish list,’ which starts with shutting down Palestinian diplomatic representation in the US,” he charged.
The Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington on Monday, citing the refusal of Palestinians to enter into talks with Israel and their rejection of the as-yet-unveiled US peace plan as the reason for the dramatic move.
Already last year, the administration told the Palestinians that its mission’s closure was a possibility unless they agreed to sit to down with the Israelis.
Instead of heeding the warning to resume talks, “the PLO leadership has condemned a US peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the US government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “As such, and reflecting congressional concerns, the administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point.”
Palestinians Refuse Peace Talks
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said that “the Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel. The United States supports a direct and robust peace process.”
Zomlot retorted by saying that the Palestinians “stand firm in our decision not to cooperate in this ongoing campaign to liquidate our rights and cause. Our rights are not for sale, and we will block any attempts at bullying and blackmailing us to forgo our legitimate and internationally endorsed rights.”
Those “who have pushed for such an act are taking a direct aim not only against the Palestinian people and the historic US-Palestinian relationship, but also against prospects for peace in the Middle East and the integrity of the international political and legal system,” he added.
“While today is a dark day for peace in the Middle East, for multilateralism, and the integrity of the international political and legal system, we will continue our struggle to pursue all possible legal and political means to achieve peace, independence and our internationally enshrined rights,” Zomlot concluded.
Netanyahu: ‘US Made the Correct Decision’
Israel welcomed the US move. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Tuesday that “the US made the correct decision regarding the PLO mission in Washington.”
“Israel supports American actions that are designed to make it clear to the Palestinians that refusing to negotiate and attempts to attack Israel in international forums will not advance peace,” he stated.