Trump Admin to Shut Down PLO Office in Washington, Threaten ICC with Sanctions
The administration of US President Donald Trump is expected to shutter the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington and threaten punitive measures against any anti-“Israeli” action by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
US National Security Adviser John Bolton is scheduled to make the announcement in his speech, “Protecting American Constitutionalism and Sovereignty from International Threats,” to the conservative group Federalist Society on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday night.
“The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, ‘Israel’,” national security adviser John Bolton plans to say, according a draft of his prepared remarks reviewed by the WSJ.
“The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to start direct and meaningful negotiations with ‘Israel’,” Bolton would say.
Bolton is going to say that closing down the office addresses congressional concerns that Palestinians might succeed in prompting an ICC investigation of “Israel”.
Bolton is also expected to threaten imposing harsh sanctions against the ICC in case it decides to move ahead with requests to investigate the US and the “Israeli” entity.
The US is worried that the ICC might go after American military personnel for their actions in Afghanistan.
“If the court comes after us, ‘Israel’ or other allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton is expected to say.
According to Bolton’s prepared remarks, Washington is prepared to ban ICC judges and prosecutors from entering the US while going after the court’s bank accounts as well. Counter legal actions are also on the table.
“We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system,” Bolton will say. “We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.”
The PLO office in Washington has long been a source of controversy.
In November last year, the Trump administration warned that it might close the office in reaction to a call by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for probing and prosecuting “Israeli” officials at the ICC and other international organizations.
Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, responded back then that such a move would undermine prospects of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The PLO warned to cut all ties with the US in case its mission was shuttered. The organization opened the office in 1994 and went on to join the ICC after receiving observer state status at the UN in 2012.
Earlier this year, Palestine asked the ICC to probe human rights violations linked to the “Israeli” regime’s illegal settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team