The Latest: Palestinians say they’ll stick to principles
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration and the Palestinians (all times local):
The Palestinian Authority says it will not abandon its principles following the U.S. decision to close the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s office in Washington.
The spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, says the Palestinian Authority will maintain its “commitment to the resolutions of international legitimacy,” according to a written statement released Monday.
Rdeneh says key issues, including the status of Palestinian refugees, “are more important than the relationship with the United States.”
The State Department on Monday announced the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, saying the decision was made because no “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel” are under way despite previous warnings.
The move is likely to harden Palestinian resistance to the U.S. role as a peace broker.
The United States is pledging to use “any means necessary” to protect American citizens and allies from International Criminal Court prosecution.
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, says the court is “illegitimate” and “for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”
Bolton delivered his remarks Monday to the conservative Federalist Society in Washington.
He says that the court threatens the “constitutional rights” of Americans and U.S. sovereignty.
The ICC, which is based in the Hague, has a mandate to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute that established the court, but his successor, George W. Bush, renounced the signature, citing fears that Americans would be unfairly prosecuted for political reasons.
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.