The U.S. continues to pursue peace between Israel and the Palestinians, with its latest move hoping to bring Palestinian leadership to the negotiating table. The Jerusalem Post's Michael Wilner and Khaled Abu Toameh report that Donald Trump continued to pressure the Palestinians this week by announcing the closure of their offices in Washington:
The Trump administration ordered the closure of Palestine Liberation Organization offices in Washington on Monday, broadening its pressure campaign on Ramallah to return to peace talks with Israel.
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. Palestinian Authority officials have said they plan on doing just that in the coming weeks.
"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," the State Department announced on Monday. "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 US peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the US government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise," the statement continued. "As such, and reflecting congressional concerns, the Administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point..."