Trump’s latest attack on Israeli-Palestinian “peace process”

Closure of PLO office is latest in series of political assaults against Palestinians by the Trump administration

September 10, 2018

Earlier this afternoon, John Bolton, President Trump’s National Security Advisor, gave a speech to the Federalist Society in which he announced the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington, D.C. Within nearly two years, the Trump administration has already managed to further politically suffocate the Palestinian people by defunding UNRWA, cutting financial assistance to hospitals serving Palestinians with critical health conditions including cancer and children seeking neonatal care, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. 

Essentially, Trump, plus the unholy trinity of Jared Kushner, John Bolton, and Benjamin Netanyahu, have removed the right of return for Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem from being part of a future Palestinian capital, and the freedom to travel for Palestinians. It seems pro-Israeli officials have finally found a dunce puppet president to exact their policies against the Palestinians and ensure that, one way or another, Palestinians remain under Israeli occupation.

Furthermore, today’s announcement included a threat to sanction judges with the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it carries out investigations on the U.S. and Israel. Bolton implicated the ICC, and, more generally, any supranational judicial organization, as liable to political biases which would constrain U.S. national security efforts. Essentially, Bolton’s public display of desperation to shield the United States government from any international scrutiny adds further blemishes on our already stained international reputation. Ironically, the United States never ratified the 2000 Rome Statute to support the ICC.

This latest closure of the PLO Mission in D.C. doesn’t just have political implications in the Middle East, its ripple effect will be felt here in the United States. There is a growing movement of young American Jews who are publicly voicing opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and illegal and undemocratic policies imposed by the Israeli government. As a response to the growing movement, we are seeing the introduction of U.S. legislation to criminalize speech when it comes to criticizing the Israeli government. We are not only seeing the devolution of our democracy and democratic institutions here at home, but in fact, we are promoting undemocratic principles and policies globally.

The Trump administration’s policies toward the Palestinians flies in the face of any international or domestic precedent that has been set. The playing field between the Palestinians and Israelis has never been equal: it has always been about the occupied and the occupier. What the Trump administration is doing now is further ensuring that the United States’ reputation as an “honest and fair broker” will never again be applied to describe our role in the situation.



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