Palestinian/Trump Administration Row
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
On Tuesday, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas nominally froze contact with Washington, in response to the Trump administration's threat to close the PLO's US office - unless it agrees to peace talks with Israel accomplishing nothing each time initiated, along with ceasing efforts to hold the Jewish state accountable for its crimes at the International Criminal Court.
Disgraceful US legislation punishes Palestinians for challenging Israel at the ICC.
The court was established to prosecute culpable individuals for crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.
Its mandate calls for "end(ing) impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern."
US and Israeli officials are guilty of the highest of high crimes. Yet none of their officials were ever held accountable - not by their own courts or the ICC.
The American Service-Members Protection Act (the so-called Hague Invasion Act) authorizes the president to use "all necessary measures (including force) to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party."
In April 2015, Palestine joined the ICC. Israel is not a member. Chances of its officials being prosecuted and convicted by the court are virtually nil.
Last Friday, Rex Tillerson said Palestinians aren't complying with US law, prohibiting its pursuit of Israeli accountability at the ICC.
Abbas is a longstanding Israeli collaborator, acting as its enforcer against his own people. He's more bark than bite on virtually all Palestinian issues with Israel and Washington.
PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi is cut from a different cloth. Washington is unqualified to be a regional peace broker, she said, one-sidedly supporting Israel, ignoring Palestinian rights.
It "punish(es) the victim…not the Israeli "perpetrator" of high crimes against Palestinians, she stressed.
Talks with the Trump administration continue - conducted by lower-level PA officials. Vice President Pence will visit Bethlehem in December. He'll meet with Abbas and other Palestinian officials.
Permission for the PLO office in Washington to remain open must be renewed biannually because it's disgracefully designated a terrorist organization by the State Department which it's not.
It's Palestine's highest political body, yet bullied and blackmailed by Washington to bend to its will. If not, its US mission will be closed.
During his September UN General Assembly address, Abbas urged the ICC to "open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people."
Trump has 90 days to determine if Palestinians are having or willing to have "direct and meaningly negotiations with Israel.
If so and its ICC action is dropped, its Washington mission will stay open. Otherwise, it'll be closed, other harsh measures likely imposed.
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