(September 13, 2018 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States for closing the Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
“The U.S. took the correct decision,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Israel supports these actions that are meant to make it clear to the Palestinians that refusing to negotiate and attacking Israel in international forums will not bring about peace.”
Former Deputy National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams told JNS on Wednesday that “the PLO is not a state with which we have diplomatic relations, and therefore it has no right to a mission in Washington. That privilege was granted to advance peace negotiations. Because the PLO has refused to negotiate since 2008, imposing this penalty is quite sensible. In fact, it is overdue.”
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and current MK (Kulanu Party) Michael Oren echoed such sentiments, adding, “With the closing of the PLO office in Washington, the American administration is not changing the rules of the game, but simply restoring them after years of neglect,” according to The Times of Israel.
“We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Monday.
“However, the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” she added. “To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise. As such, and reflecting congressional concerns, the administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point.”