Palestinians file war crimes claim over West Bank hamlet

13 September, 2018, 17:01 | Author: Mable Gonzales
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The latest swing of the Trump administration's wrecking ball at Palestinians and at prospects for peace was its decision earlier this week to shutter the PLO mission in Washington, DC, an institution that has practically been serving as a Palestinian embassy in the United States capital for the past quarter-century. This week, Trump put the icing on this particular cake by ordering the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) offices in Washington, DC.

Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson deemed the PLO responsible for violating a provision in US law that prohibits the group from trying to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

If such a probe proceeds, the Trump administration will consider banning judges and prosecutors from entering the United States, put sanctions on any funds they have in the USA financial system and prosecute them in the American court system.

Notably, the office's closure comes shortly after the US ended all funding for UNRWA, the UN's cash-strapped Palestinian refugee agency. Jordan, a US ally, said the decision would only fuel radicalism and harm prospects for Middle East peace.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already rejected the plan, saying the not an honest broker.

The decision comes after the Trump administration about $25 million in aid originally allotted for Palestinians in East Jerusalem hospitals.

The PLO office in Washington has always been the focus of controversy.

US President Donald Trump and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem, May 2017.

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Palestinian activists have set up five shipping containers near a Bedouin hamlet to protest the expected razing of the West Bank encampment by Israel, AP reported Tuesday.

"However, the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel".

"The U.S. threats against the ICC are a coup against the rules in the global system", he said.

Trump also has cut financial support to the Palestinian Authority, slashed aid to the United Nations agency serving Palestinian refugees and proposed changing the criteria for refugee status in a way that would reduce the rolls to about 500,000 refugees, down from 5 million.

Israel says Khan al-Ahmar was illegally built and has offered to resettle residents 12 kilometers (7 miles) away.

Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem.

"Any U.S. action to scuttle ICC inquiries on Afghanistan and Palestine would demonstrate that the administration was more concerned with coddling serial rights abusers - and deflecting scrutiny of U.S. conduct in Afghanistan - than supporting impartial justice", said Human Rights Watch.


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