U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced on Friday that the White House was considering shutting down the Palestinian mission in Washington. According to the agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the U.S. State Department, the Palestinians must comply with certain conditions in order to maintain their mission in the U.S. capital, which must be certified be certified by the State Department. Tillerson told the press that the PA had violated a part of the agreement which prohibits them from bringing charges against Israelis in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against Palestinians.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas violated this provision last September in a speech to the United Nations in September, in which he urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel and prosecute actions by Israelis.
PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki told Palestine Radio that the PA leadership “will not accept any extortion or pressure” and that “the ball is now in the American court.”
According to the law, the White House now has 90 days to determine whether the Palestinian Authority has entered into “direct, meaningful negotiations with Israel,” in which case the PA will be permitted to keep their mission and all restrictions placed on the PLO in the U.S. will be waived, the State Department official told NBC News.
“We are hopeful that this closure will be short-lived,” the official said.