A reported decision by the Trump administration to shutter the Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington, DC is a self-defeating step that can only harm the administration’s efforts to promote viable negotiations toward a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The State Department reportedly notified the Palestinian Authority on Friday that its General Delegation to the United States must be closed as a matter of US law related to Palestinian support for possible International Criminal Court investigations of actions by Israelis.
This foolish move undermines Palestinian Chief Representative Husam Zomlot, who has been a tireless advocate for a two-state solution and vocal public backer of the administration’s efforts to date toward viable negotiations. It arms those in Palestinian society who oppose a two-state solution with more fodder to question US motivations and credibility as a mediator. It makes it more difficult for leaders in Arab states to explore regional approaches toward peace and cooperation with Israel.
The US government should swiftly take all steps necessary to allow the General Delegation office to remain open at this critical moment for US policy in the Middle East.