JERUSALEM – A senior Palestinian diplomat criticized on Monday United States President Donald Trump’s administration over its decision to close the diplomatic mission of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, DC.
PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat said the move – which leaves Palestinians with no formal diplomatic presence in the US – was a further blow to all Palestinians, as it comes shortly after the Trump administration cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.
“This dangerous escalation shows that the US is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes,” Erekat said in a statement, calling it a “policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people.”
“We will take the necessary measures to protect the rights of our citizens living in the United States to access their consular services,” he asserted.
Palestine’s de-facto embassy in Washington DC is affiliated with the PLO, the political organization that controls the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank, but not the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip.
The Trump administration has pursued policies, such as abandoning the so-called “two state solution” and moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, that aim to force Palestinians to accept a peace deal that gives up many of their national aspirations.