The Obama administration rejected a call by US lawmakers to close the PLO embassy in Washington while Palestinian incitement and terror attacks against Israelis continue.
The State Department rejected a petition by 32 members of Congress to close the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) embassy in Washington in wake of the wave of Palestinian terror attacks.
State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau on Tuesday rejected the lawmakers’ demand, though she confirmed that the department had received the letter and said Kerry would respond to it.
“I would note we believe closing the PLO office would be detrimental to our ongoing efforts to calm current tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, advance a two-state solution, and strengthen the US-Palestinian partnership,” Trudeau said, explaining the Obama administration’s refusal to comply with the lawmakers’ petition.
In the letter sent on Friday to Secretary of State John Kerry, the lawmakers demanded that the administration revoke the PLO’s waiver permitting it to maintain an office in the US capital.
The senators accuse the PLO of inciting to terror, funding terrorism and paying imprisoned Palestinian terrorists a salary as an award for acts of terrorism.
“Shockingly, despite being complicit in spreading hatred and terror, the PLO retains an office in Washington, D.C.,” the lawmakers wrote. “We ask that the State Department revoke the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s waiver to maintain an office in the United States.”
“We believe the PLO is an important partner, and, as the official representative body of the Palestinian people before the international community, the PLO has a role to play in our efforts to advance a two-state solution,” Trudeau responded, pointing out that every administration since 1994 has regularly exercised available waiver authorities allowing the PLO office to remain open.
She also said that the administration remains “deeply concerned about ongoing violence in Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. We completely reject the notion that there is any justification for violence against innocent civilians,” and stressed the importance of the Palestinian leadership strongly opposing violence in all forms.
“We’ve said affirmative steps are needed to calm tensions and reduce violence,” she stated.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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