WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration and the Palestinians (all times local):
The State Department is announcing the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.
The department says that the PLO “has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”
It accuses the Palestinian leadership of condemning a yet-to-be-released Trump administration plan to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It also contends that the PLO is refusing to engage with the U.S. government on peace efforts.
In its statement Monday, the department says its decision is also consistent with administration and congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.
The Palestinian leadership accuses the U.S. administration of bias toward Israel. The administration has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cut aid to Palestinians.
The U.S. plans to close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in its latest show of support for the U.S-Israel relationship.
National Security Adviser John Bolton was expected to discuss the plans in a speech Monday, saying the Trump administration wouldn’t keep the office open “when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” according to prepared remarks.
The Palestinians say U.S. officials have notified them their mission will be closed, the latest in a series of American blows to the Palestinians.
This follows moves by President Donald Trump to end funding for the United Nations agency that helps Palestinian refugees, slash U.S. aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza and cut funding to hospitals in Jerusalem that serve Palestinians.