Trump’s Closing of PLO National Mission Continues to Hinder Peace Process

Washington, DC | | September 10, 2018 | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) condemns the Trump administration’s decision to close the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s mission in the United States. In making such a decision, the administration affirms its intent to punish the Palestinian people, and proves that its role as a peace mediator of the conflict is merely a farce.

With this decision, the Trump administration continues to marginalize Palestinians. Since 1994, every administration has elected to routinely sign a waiver allowing the PLO, which is the formal international representative of the Palestinian people, to maintain a mission in Washington, D.C. Despite the ebb and flow of the conflict over the past several years, every waiver has been renewed — until now. Shutting down the PLO mission rewards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he continues to build illegal settlements, occupies Palestinian land, oppresses Palestinian protesters, and refuses to accept any sort of solution that honors Palestinian existence and autonomy. 

John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Advisor, claims that the administration is closing the mission because “Palestinians refuse to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” However, he fails to acknowledge that the administration’s stance has been determinedly pro-Israel, and leaves hardly anything of substance for the Palestinians to negotiate. The Palestinians have protested peacefully and continuously compromised for the sake of engagement. Yet the Trump administration has cut financial support for UNRWA while continuing to give Israel more than $3 billion every year, moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and questioned the Palestinian right of return.  The Trump administration and Israel have sabotaged their supposed goal of a two-state solution and are coercing the Palestinians into what can only be called a sham of a so-called peace agreement.

The Trump administration’s decision is follows a string of other disheartening and cruel policies that will have damaging implications on the peace process. The blatant disregard for Palestinian autonomy not only and obviously harms the Palestinians, but also shows that Trump’s administration does not believe in any sort of autonomy or legitimate representation of the Palestinian people. The Palestinians now have only further reason to avoid the negotiations table and to cease communications with the administration. On the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords, the Trump administration and Israel have shown that viability for a two-state solution is bleak at best.  

ADC stands for the basic human rights of individuals everywhere, and is appalled at the Trump administration’s determination to further hinder the peace process in the Middle East. ADC believes in justice and autonomy for the Palestinian people. ADC calls on the White House to reverse its decision to close the PLO’s diplomatic mission in the U.S. and to uphold its obligation to act as a neutral mediator of peace in the conflict.

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