(October 10, 2018 / JNS) WASHINGTON—As the Palestinian flag was taken down from the Palestine Liberation Organization Diplomatic Mission on Wednesday, protesters decried the Trump administration’s policies towards the Palestinians, saying they will not advance the cause of peace.
The administration last month ordered the PLO office to be closed.
“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.
“However, the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel. … To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the US 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.”
While the move was celebrated by many, it was slammed by others. Arab American Institute founder and president James Zogby said that since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinians have played their part, while the Israel has not.
“One party to Oslo has violated every single condition of that peace accord and has never been sanctioned,” said Zogby. “It has received increasingly more aid and more acceptance of all their illegal policies.”
“The other party, the weakest party, which has always expected to do the heaviest lifting, has been repeatedly sanctioned, and today their office is being closed,” he continued.
Zogby also slammed the administration for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, leading up to the long-awaited Mideast peace plan. “They’re trying to take Palestinians as a people off the table,” he said, “thinking that by pummeling them into submission, there’ll be peace.”