USA ups pressure on Palestinians, closing Washington mission

National Security Advisor John Bolton visits Kyiv Ukraine on Aug. 24 2018

The decision by the United States to close the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) representative office in Washington is regrettable, the Palestinian government said on Monday. Palestinian leaders say their political situation has deteriorated since Trump took office in 2017 as Washington has pursued policies that favor the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a close USA ally.

The move comes in ostensible retaliation for efforts by the Palestinian leadership to have crimes allegedly committed by Israel prosecuted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

He added that "the current USA administration's policies starting with the transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem last May unveiled its complete prejudice to the Israeli agenda".

In recent weeks, the United States cut more than $200 million in bilateral aid to the Palestinians and cancelled its support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA. Jordan, a US ally, said the decision would only fuel radicalism and harm prospects for Middle East peace.

Palestinians also took issue after Mr. Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

The closure of the PLO office was the latest in a series of moves targeting the Palestinians.

"The United States continues to believe that direct negations between the two parties are the only way forward", she said, "This action should not be exploited by those who seek to act as spoilers to distract from the imperative of reaching a peace agreement". They have since rejected the U.S.as peace broker.

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"The Americans have damaged their credibility such that they are destroying any chance to convince Palestinian leaders to bring their constituents around to whatever idea they have".

Donald Trump and his chief advisors on Israeli-Palestinian relations - his former real estate lawyer, his former bankruptcy lawyer, and his son-in-law - have shown no genuine interest in advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians. "They are no longer partners in the peace process", Erekat said.

The dossier "included a focus on the war crimes facing Khan al-Ahmar, specifically the crimes of forcible displacement, ethnic cleansing and the destruction of civilian property", Erekat said.

The court has been hobbled by the refusal of the U.S., Russia, China and other major nations to join.

According to reports, this decision is part of a widening USA pressure campaign on Palestinian officials amid stalled Middle East peace prospects and that the US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, is expected to announce the decision in several hours.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) called the measure a "New Year's gift" to Israel and the Jewish people.

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