As PLO office closes in Washington, Palestinian ambassador says Trump is the problem not America

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After 24 years the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington DC closed yesterday, following instructions from the Trump administration to shutter their operations in the U.S.

The head of the mission Palestinian Ambassador to the U.S. Husam Zomlot issued a goodbye message from the West Bank, where he was recalled last May in the wake of the U.S. moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Today is the deadline they put for our ability as mission to continue our growing outreach efforts to the American people,” Zomlot said in the recording posted to social media this afternoon, addressing “millions of good hearted americans.”

“We will not miss this last opportunity to talk to you,” Zomlot said, adding, “While the decision by the Trump administration to close our mission is unfortunate and vindictive, it was unsurprising to us.”

The Palestinian leadership confirmed Monday the embassy would close soon, following reports of a leaked draft of a speech by National Security Advisor John Bolton last Sunday night that said the PLO mission would be shut down in the course of penalizing nations that seek prosecution against the U.S., Israel, or other allies at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bolton, a long time critic of the ICC, indicated the following day at a summit for the Federalist Society that the measure against the PLO was both a sanction for its insistence jurists open an investigation into Israel, and for present unwillingness to engage the White House in its attempts at brokering an agreement with Israel.

“The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negations,” Bolton said Monday.

Closing the PLO Mission as a response to Palestinian actions at the ICC was raised as early as last November by Trump administration officials. Then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters by going to the court the Palestinians had violated an obscure condition added by Congress in 2015 barring the Palestinians from the ICC. Confusion was raised in Washington a few days later when State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said State wanted to keep the PLO office open.

Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot issues a goodbye message as the PLO Mission in Washington DC closes. (Photo: screen shot from Twitter)
Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot issues a goodbye message as the PLO Mission in Washington DC closes. (Photo: screen shot from Twitter)

In his farewell message, Zomlot underscored that the Palestinian relationship with the U.S. would remain strong, however, ties with the Trump administration would still sour. Official communication between the negotiations team headed by the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt abruptly came to a stop last December when Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital—a redline for the Palestinians.

“The Trump administration gave us only two choices,” Zomlot said in his farewell recording, “Either we lose our relationship with the administration, or we lose our rights as a nation. Our president, leadership and the people of Palestine opted for rights.”

“While we are extremely saddened by the current state of affairs, we are firm about our choices and national rights. The issue is not with the U.S. or the American people, the issue is only with the Trump administration,” he said.

Zomlot concluded by promising to continue outreach to Americans despite no longer having his foreign mission, “We vow to double our efforts to strengthen our partnership between the two peoples,” he said.

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No amount of apologies to the Palestinian people can make up for the role America has played in wiping them off the map. We should NOT have been sending those who occupies, steals from them, and massacres their children, for all these decades, nor should we have kept arming them with deadly weapons, that kills their families. Americans should be ashamed at the part we have played in protecting, and supporting them in the international… Read more »

Mr. Zomlot seems to be unaware that the American people mostly remain totally ignorant about Israel and the US government enablement of Israel’s rogue conduct as a de facto agent of Israel. Ohio billboard tells Americans (kept ignorant by US corporate media news) about lavish aid to rogue Israel via @IfAmericansKnew Some individuals in Cleveland who would like to put up a billboard in that area. Please let us know if you could donate… Read more »

Two peoples?

Americans and Palestinians are two peoples, but Israelis and Palestinians are not?

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Have a nice vacation while we reverse his stupid idea. Trump is a problem. Not just for you but for us and his kids and anyone else I can think of. I was going to ask him for a job in healthcare, but my goal was to insure people, not make them uninsured. SO, I am NOT ECONOMICALLY VIABLE. Nothing makes sense and up is down. Go say hi to your family and we’ll see… Read more »