Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the U.S. decision to close the PLO mission in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday evening.
“The U.S. made the right decision regarding the PLO mission in Washington,” Netanyahu said, according to Israel’s Channel Two. “Israel supports the American actions that are intended to make it clear to the Palestinians that the refusal to negotiate and the attempts to attack Israel in international forums will not advance peace.”
The United States announced that it would close the mission on Monday, giving the staff several months to vacate. The State Department said in a statement that the move was directly connected to the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to negotiate with Israel or to consider any peace plan put forward by the Trump administration.
“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 the statement. “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,” the statement added.
Israeli-Arab MK Ahmed Tibi blasted the move, telling Channel Two, “We are talking about [Trump’s] campaign of revenge against the Palestinian people and its leadership after they expressed their absolute refusal to consider his shocking ideas regarding what is called the ‘deal of the century,’ and the cutting off of relations with him after the embassy move.”
The United States, said Tibi, has “lost its standing as a mediator in the political process.”