Palestinians Slam Trump Decision to Close US Mission


"President Donald Trump is closing the Palestine Liberation Organization's mission in Washington, the latest US blow against the Palestinians and an global court during the stalled Mideast peace process", writes the Associated Press.

Reuters cited a draft of a speech that President Donald Trump's national-security adviser, John Bolton, is set to make at the conservative Federalist Society in Washington on September 10.

"The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel", Bolton plans to say, according to a draft.

The fate of the Georgetown offices has been in limbo for over a year, ever since the administration discovered it was congressionally obligated to close the diplomatic facility should Palestinian officials target Israel at the International Criminal Court.

The United States has said it will adopt an aggressive posture against the International Criminal Court (ICC), and threatened sanctions against ICC judges if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan.

The State Department said the USA step - the latest in a series targeting the Palestinians - came after a review of the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization centered on the fact that no "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel" are underway despite previous warnings.

Bolton added that the administration will not allow any ICC judges or prosecutors enter the country if the investigation launches. Considering America's unwavering support for Israel, Palestinian leadership was skeptical of United States promises. Although the US does not recognize Palestinian statehood, the PLO has maintained in Washington a general delegation office that facilitates Palestinian officials' interactions with the USA government.

White House National Security Advisor John Bolton called the Hague-based rights body "unaccountable" and "outright dangerous" to the United States, Israel and other allies, and said any probe of USA service members would be "an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation".

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He says that the court threatens the "constitutional rights" of Americans and US sovereignty.

The action against the PLO is the latest in a series of measures by the Trump administration against the Palestinian leadership. And we certainly will not join the ICC.

The United States is to close the Palestinian mission in Washington, in the latest move by president Donald Trump, who is trying to force the Palestinians to negotiate, an official said on Monday.

The Clinton administration signed the Rome Statute that created the ICC but had serious concerns about the scope of the court's jurisdiction and never sought ratification by the Senate, where there was broad bipartisan opposition to what lawmakers saw as a threat to USA sovereignty.

The International Criminal Court was created to adjudicate international war crimes and acts of terrorism.

In recent weeks, the United States has cut more than US$200 million (Dh734.6m) in bilateral aid to the Palestinians as well as cancelled its support for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.

On Sunday, Trump also ordered that $25m earmarked for the care of Palestinians in East Jerusalem be directed elsewhere. "After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us", Bolton said. But threatening companies that dare to assist an investigation?