Palestinian officials have threatened to cut all communications with the US, if the Trump administration continues with plans to shut down their diplomatic mission in Washington.
“We will put on hold all our communications with this American administration,” said Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Saturday.
He added that the decision was “very unfortunate and unacceptable,” and accused Washington of giving in to pressure from the Israeli regime.
He further noted that “we are trying to cooperate to achieve the ultimate deal.”
The announcement came after the US State Department threatened to close the Palestinians’ diplomatic office in Washington unless they enter into direct, meaningful negotiations with the Tel Aviv regime.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has 90 days to determine if the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” If so, the mission will be reopened.
Hanan Ashrawi, from the executive committee of the Palestine
Liberation Organization (PLO), said that the US was “disqualifying itself as a peace broker in the region” with its refusal to extend the law.
“Conditioning the renewal of the waiver on the Palestinians’ sticking to ‘direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel’ is actually superfluous since negotiations are nonexistent, and the current US administration has yet to present any kind of peace initiative,” she said.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki also said that the Palestinian leadership “will not accept any extortion or pressure.”
According to a State Department official, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas crossed the line in September after he called for an ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis.
During his United Nations General Assembly speech in September, Abbas called for the ICC to “open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people.”
Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.
Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for the so-called “two-state solution” in February, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.
“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Netanyahu in Washington on February 15.