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US shutting down Palestinian mission in Washington

Palestinian officials, who had been notified in advance of the closure, have reacted angrily, calling it “vicious blackmail” and a “collective punishment” in line with other US measures.

world Updated: Sep 11, 2018 07:05 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Palestinian mission,US Palestinian mission,Palestine
The U.S. has notified the Palestinians it's closing their mission in Washington, a senior official said Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, the latest in a series of American blows to the Palestinians. (AP File )

The Trump administration on Monday announced it is shutting down the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington over what it alleged was a refusal to participate in the peace process with Israel.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)’s office in Washington serves as its “embassy”, though not officially — the US doesn’t recognise any Palestinian entity as a country.

“The PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” the US state department said in a statement. “To the contrary, 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.”

The statement also mentioned Palestinian attempts to get the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel for war crimes.

Palestinian officials, who had been notified in advance of the closure, have reacted angrily, calling it “vicious blackmail” and a “collective punishment” in line with other US measures, such as the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In November 2017, the administration told the Palestinians that the office could be closed unless they agreed to sit to down with the Israelis. The administration, however, has yet to release its own much-vaunted but largely unknown peace plan although it said it still intends to do so.

First Published: Sep 10, 2018 12:59 IST