Palestinians 'freeze' meetings with U.S. over office row

A roof of chicken wire on Al Shallalah Street in Hebron protects Muslims from rubbish thrown by militant settlers

Trump's About to Repeat the Mistake of Bush and Obama in the Israeli-Arab Conflict

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) suspended Tuesday its contacts with the U.S.in response its decision to close the office of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, a senior Palestinian official said.

"In practice by closing the office they are freezing all meetings and we are making that official".

In 2015, the US Congress introduced a provision that Palestinians may not try to wield influence over the ICC concerning investigations into Israelis.

The Trump administration began to reconsider the move following threats by the Palestinian Authority's leadership that Ramallah would cut its ties with Washington, Maliki told the official Voice of Palestine radio station.

A PLO spokesman confirmed that it had received instructions from PA head Mahmoud Abbas "regarding closing down all communication lines with the Americans".

While the United States does not recognize statehood for the Palestinians, President Bill Clinton waived a 1980s-era law that barred them from having an office and allowed the PLO, which formally represents all Palestinians, to open a mission in Washington in 1994.

It was not immediately clear what effect the State Department's move might have on the Trump administration's efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which are led by Jared Kushner, the US president's son-in-law and senior adviser.

"We are not cutting off relations with the PLO", that statement said.

There is a 90-day period for Trump to consider whether the Palestinians are engaged in "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel" before any decision is taken.

The US State Department told CNN that it was looking into the matter but had no further comment t that time.

By closing the office in Washington, DC, the USA itself made any contacts with the Palestinian Authority impossible, Riyad al-Malki told AFP. "The Trump administration should stop pressuring Palestine to abandon support for a credible, long overdue path to justice".

Following the initial U.S. announcement about the closure of the PLO office in Washington, the Israeli prime minister's office issued a statement saying, "we respect the decision and look forward to continuing to work with the USA to advance peace and security in the region". It raises questions about the veracity of the anticipated US Middle East peace plan.

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