US president Donald Trump’s administration ordered on Monday the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) offices in Washington.
In a statement, the US Department of State said, “the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”
It added, “to the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a US peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the US government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise.”
Palestinian negotiator and PLO executive secretary general, Saeb Erekat described the US gesture as ” dangerous escalations,” that will have disastrous political consequences and “ruining the international system in order to protect Israel.”
The PLO is the national representative of the Palestinian people. It was established in 1964 and has been the embodiment of the Palestinian national movement.
Shortly after Trump’s administration announcement, US National Security Adviser John Bolton threatened the International Criminal Court (ICC) with sanctions if the court processed with investigations into alleged war crimes committed by the US military in Afghanistan war or into “Israel or other US allies.”
“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens,” said Bolton, adding “and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”
Bolton added, “we will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead.”
In response, the ICC issued a statement on Tuesday and pledged to “continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law.”
Earlier in May this year, the Palestinian Authority (PA) asked the ICC to open an immediate investigation into Israel’s “grave crimes” against Palestinians.
The request sought an investigation into “Israel’s continuing crimes in the past, present, and future, specifically those concerning Israel’s illegitimate settlements system in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.”
Last year, Trump strongly angered the Palestinians when decided to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognising the holy city the capital of Israel. On May this year, the US celebrated the opening of its embassy, while Israel forces killed more than 60 Palestinians and injured more than 2,000 others, who were demonstrating the gesture in Gaza.