The Palestinians followed through with their threat to sever ties with the US after Washington ordered the closure of the PLO mission in the American capital.
The Palestinians’ move to freeze all ties with the US comes “in response to some unacceptable US measures,” a spokesman for Palestinian Authority (PA) stated.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh was referring to the Palestinian decision to cut all communications with the US following its decision to close the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, the Palestinian official WAFA news agency reported.
Abu Rudeineh stressed that “the Palestinian decision is going to face challenges but the coming period is critical and an opportunity to correct Palestinian-American relations.”
Abu Rudeineh was speaking from Madrid where Abbas is on an official visit.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced it is freezing all ties with the US following the State Department’s announcement on Friday that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) can no longer operate its Washington office.
The US decision followed the Palestinian move to petition the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute Israelis for alleged crimes against Palestinians. Washington says that the Palestinian action violated its legal mandate and resulted in the mission closure.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson determined that the Palestinians crossed that line in September, when Abbas called on the court to investigate and prosecute Israelis.
Under the law, Trump now has 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” If Trump determines they are, then the mission can reopen.
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP on Tuesday that “by closing the office they (The US) are freezing all meetings and we are making that official.”
A PLO spokesman confirmed that it had received instructions from Abbas “regarding closing down all communication lines with the Americans.”
Cutting off ties would carry great risks for the Palestinians. It could antagonize an administration they already suspect is biased toward Israel and put millions of dollars of critical US aid in jeopardy.
Following the initial US announcement about the closure of the PLO office in Washington, the Israeli prime minister’s office issued a statement saying, “we respect the decision and look forward to continuing to work with the US to advance peace and security in the region.”
By: United with Israel Staff and AP