Palestinians freeze ties with US


A State Department official on Saturday said under US law, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could not renew a certification for the PLO office to operate "given certain statements made by the Palestinian leaders about the International Criminal Court".

"What is the use of holding any meetings with them when they close our office?"

"In practice by closing the office they are freezing all meetings and we are making that official".

WAFA quoted Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki as saying that Palestinian leaders would not give in to blackmail or pressure regarding the operation of the PLO office or negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. "We respect the decision and look forward to continuing to work with the United States to advance peace and security in the region", said a statement issued Saturday night by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last week, the Trump administration notified the Palestinian Authority that unless it enters serious peace negotiations with Israel, the US could shut down the Palestinian diplomatic delegation in Washington, D.C. within the next few months.

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The PLO office in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The White House and the Israeli Prime Minister's Office challenged the accuracy of the report.

President Mahmoud Abbas ordered all contacts with Washington on hold until Palestinian demands are met, sources within the PA government told RT. Israel says many of those killed were militants.

"Meetings with the American side will be useless while they are closing our office in Washington", he said, adding "the meetings between us and the Americans are basically coordinated through our PLO office there", he said.

"Ongoing impunity for such crimes during Israel's 50-year-occupation stands as a major barrier to a durable, just peace".

The decision can be overturned if President Donald Trump determines that the Palestinians "have entered into direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel". "The Trump administration should stop pressuring Palestine to abandon support for a credible, long overdue path to justice".