The latest in a string of moves against the Palestinians, the Trump Administration announced Monday that they are ordering the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) closed. Early reports suggested this was intended to punish them for not joining Trump’s Middle East peace plan.
That explanation didn’t last long, however, as the State Department and John Bolton both later suggested that they were mad at the Palestinians for trying to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over war crimes.
Palestinian officials seem to favor the later excuse, and have complained publicly that the office closure is the US trying to protect Israeli crimes. Negotiator Saeb Erekat says the Palestinians will continue to pursue legal actions against Israel.
Just over two weeks ago, President Trump promised the Palestinians would “get something very good” in return for Israel getting Jerusalem. Since then, the US has announced multiple aid cuts, defunded the UNRWA, has tried to cut Palestinians’ refugee status, and has now expelled the PLO from Washington. All of this appears to just be further alienating the Palestinians at a time when the administration is supposedly trying to get them to the negotiating table.