WASHINGTON, November 21, 2017 (WAFA) - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) denounced on Monday the US State Department’s decision not to renew the operating license for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) general delegation’s Washington office saying that closing the office for advocating international law is troubling.
ADC called in a statement on US President Donald Trump and the State Department to reverse the closure decision and allow the PLO’s diplomatic office in Washington DC to remain open.
The State Department claimed last week that the PLO had violated the terms of its agreement with the US government to maintain a General Delegation office in the US when its representatives called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate potential international war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel in the occupied territories. Such actions by the PLO, according to a 2015 US law, allow the State Department to shut down the PLO’s diplomatic office in the US.
The US president, however, can override the State Department’s actions if he finds that the PLO, within 90 days of the closure decision, has begun engaging in meaningful and direct peace negotiations with Israel.
“This unprecedented action threatens US-Palestinian relations, as well as the entire peace process,” said ADC. “Senior PLO officials have already stated that the unnecessary pressure now being exerted on them by the Trump Administration threatens not only US-Middle East relations on the whole, but may also undermine any avenue for peace in the region.”
ADC said that the PLO, which has maintained an official General Delegation office in the US since 1994 and has never been forced to close its operations before, “is now being asked to close its diplomatic office in the US for simply trying to advocate for the enforcement of established international laws before the ICC, (which) is extremely troubling.”
It said it was is “appalled at the State Department’s decision to obstruct avenues for peace-talks in the Middle East simply because the PLO has attempted to support international human rights standards and laws.”
It called on the Palestinian American community to call on the White House to negate the State Department’s decision to close the PLO’s diplomatic mission to the US and on the State Department to reverse its decision to force the PLO to close its diplomatic mission to the US.