Palestinians freeze ties with US

A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization confirmed that it had received instructions from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "regarding closing down all communication lines with the Americans". "We are still waiting to know they actually plan to close the office".

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

The US has announced on Friday that it would not renew the PLO Washington office permit.

"In practice by closing the office they are freezing all meetings and we are making that official", Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told French Press Agency (AFP).

Offices for the Palestine Liberation Organization are seen in Washington, D.C., on November 21, 2017.

The Trump administration announced Friday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' call on the International Criminal Court in September to investigate and prosecute Israeli officials for settlement activity and aggression against Palestinians had triggered a US law that could lead to the closure.

According to the law, President Donald Trump can waive the closure if the Palestinians are involved in "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel".

After the Palestinians joined the ICC in 2015, Congress passed a similar provision into the December 2015 foreign ops bill. "The Trump administration should stop pressuring Palestine to abandon support for a credible, long overdue path to justice".

"Conditioning the renewal of the waiver on the Palestinians" sticking to "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel' is actually superfluous since negotiations are nonexistent, and the current USA administration has yet to present any kind of peace initiative", PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.

The Palestinians have severed all contacts with officials from the Trump administration after it made a decision to close their official representation in Washington, dealing a blow to any potential resurrection of peace talks with Israel.

Rights groups have condemned what they say is the Palestinians' right to seek an ICC decision on Israel's conduct during the seven-week 2014 Gaza War, in which its forces were accused of not taking adequate measures to protect civilian live.

There is a 90-day period for Trump to consider whether the Palestinians are engaged in "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel" before any decision is taken.

  • Rogelio Becker