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Palestinians point finger at Israel for crisis with US

Palestinians blame Israel's ambassador to the United States for acting to close the PLO Washington office.
The Palestine Liberation Organization office is seen in Washington, U.S., November 19, 2017. U.S. State Department official said that under legislation passed by Congress, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could not renew a certification that expired this month for the PLO office. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RC1155BD2A70
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The Palestinians were shocked to receive US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s message about the intentions of the United States to close the PLO’s office in Washington unless progress was made in the diplomatic negotiations on Nov. 18.

Tillerson's threat came on the heels of a Palestinian attempt to bring high-ranking Israeli officials to trial for war crimes in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had called on the ICC on several occasions to investigate acts carried out by Israel in Gaza and the West Bank. And in February 2017 — as a response to Abbas' reaction to the Regularization Settlement Law adopted by Israel — the Americans threatened to impose sanctions on the Palestinians. These sanctions would include the closure of the PLO office in Washington should the Palestinians dare turn to the ICC.

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