US threatens to shut down PLO office in Washington

US threatens to shut down PLO office in WashingtonThe State Department has threatened to shut down the Palestine Liberation Organisation's office in Washington DC. In response the PLO  said it would cut off all communication with the Trump administration, undercutting the efforts of Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law,  to broker a peace Middle East peace deal. Opened in 1994, the office is under threat after the State Department refused to recertify the PLO mission. According to a State Department official, the decision follows moves by the Palestinians to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court. This, the administration said, would breach conditions imposed by Congress which prohibited the PLO from taking a case to the ICC. The office could, however, be reopened after 90 days if President Trump believes the PLO has entered into  “direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel.” Washington is understood to have been angered by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who told the UN in September that it had asked the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israeli officials over "involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people". The PLO reacted angrily to the threat to its office, describing the move as "extortion" and accusing the administration of bowing to pressure from the Israeli government.



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