BriefUS orders closure of PLO mission in Washington

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The United States continues to believe that direct negotiations between the two parties are the only way forward.

The US threatened to arrest and sanction judges and other officials of the International Criminal Court if it moves to charge any American who served in Afghanistan with war crimes.

"With the closing of the PLO office in Washington, the American administration is not changing the rules of the game, but simply restoring them after years of neglect", Oren said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States decision to close the PLO mission in Washington, DC on Tuesday evening.

"Trump has become an enemy of the Palestinian people and an enemy of peace", said the Palestinians.

Under longstanding American law, permission for the PLO to maintain its mission in Washington must be renewed every six months. In 2002, Bolton, then a State Department official, traveled to NY to ceremonially "unsign" the Rome Statute at the United Nations. "We are not retreating from our efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace".

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The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates also condemned the USA decision and said in a statement on Monday that it will not stop Palestinian efforts to take Israel to global courts.

National Security Adviser John Bolton was expected to address Monday's decision in a speech later in the day focused on US policy toward the ICC.

The United States has accused Palestinian leaders of rejecting outright a still unseen USA peace plan, while in turn the Trump administration is viewed by the Palestinians as being biased in favour of Israel.

Erdogan led the worldwide outcry when US President Donald Trump recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, twice holding summits of Muslim leaders in Istanbul.

Notably, the office's closure comes shortly after the US ended all funding for UNRWA, the UN's cash-strapped Palestinian refugee agency.

Trump has promised to pursue the "ultimate deal" between the Palestinians and Israel.

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Palestinian leaders say Trump's White House is blatantly biased in favour of Israel and is seeking to blackmail them into accepting its terms.

The Palestinian question, which is at the heart of Arab action, constitutes a real challenge to the common Arab project and places the Arab and Islamic States as well as the stakeholders of the worldwide community in front of their responsibility to unblock the current impasse, she said.

"The main part of it is just going ahead and implementing the grocery list that was submitted to them by Netanyahu", he added.

The Palestinians have asked the ICC to investigate Israel on issues ranging from settlement building in the occupied West Bank to civilian casualties in the 2014 Gaza war, among others.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki holds a news conference at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

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