In announcing the closure of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) mission in Washington, DC on September 10, 2018, the U.S. State Department asserted that the Palestinians have failed to take steps “to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert added that the decision was prompted by Palestinian plans to bring charges against Israel for war crimes to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Nauert stated that “The U.S. continues to believe that direct negotiations between the two parties are the only way forward.” She added, “We are not retreating from our efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace.” Nauert pointed out that the Palestinian leadership “has condemned the U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise. As such, and reflecting congressional concerns, the administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point.”
The Palestinian leadership, in its unwillingness to have direct negotiations with Israel or reach a compromise that would afford them sovereignty and provide Israel with security, is resorting to the familiar Palestinian-Arab stance that is almost a century old. No to the Peel Commission of 1937 that gave Palestinian-Arabs 75% of Western Palestine and 25% to the Palestinian Jews. No to the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which would have given the Palestinian-Arabs a sovereign state. (No to peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel or negotiations with it as resolved at the Khartoum Arab League Summit on September 1, 1967.) No commitment to the Oslo Peace Process (which ended with Arafat’s initiated Second Intifada in September, 2000). It is premised on the Arab-Palestinians unwillingness to share the land with the Jews and their equal refusal to recognize the historical Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. In appealing to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Palestinians are using it as a subterfuge to avoid negotiations with Israel. Instead, they are alleging that Israel committed crimes in response to the recent clashes with Hamas, and that Israeli settlements are illegal.