Cruz welcomes closing of PLO office in Washington

Texas Senator praises Trump administration for "long overdue step" of closing PLO office in Washington, DC.

Elad Benari,

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz

US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday praised the Trump administration’s decision to close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington, D.C.

“Thirty years ago, Congress correctly declared that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and its affiliates were terror groups who had no place keeping an office in the United States. Decades of Palestinian behavior since then has confirmed the wisdom of that judgment. Today, Palestinian leaders still refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, still incite and financially reward terrorism, and still lash out against our lawmakers and diplomats,” said Cruz.

“Until today, presidents from both parties let the PLO keep an office open in Washington D.C., which signaled to Palestinian leaders that violence and intransigence had no costs, and so hindered the cause of peace. I have repeatedly introduced legislation requiring the office's closure, and recently sent a letter to the administration emphasizing that the office was operating illegally and calling for it to be closed. I commend President Trump and his administration for taking the necessary, prudent, and long overdue step of closing down the PLO office,” added Cruz.

Senator Cruz has long called for the closure of the PLO office in Washington D.C. In the letter he co-authored in June with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the two lawmakers urged the Administration to begin taking the necessary steps and instituting the necessary legal action to close the PLO office, citing the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987.

The US threatened to shut down the PLO mission in New York back in November, when then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to the Palestinian leadership warning that the delegation might be shut down as a result of Abbas's call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel and prosecute Israelis.

Later, however, State Department officials said that it was decided to keep the delegation open for at least 90 days, and at the end of that period, Trump could announce that he is prolonging its activity because it is vital for supporting "meaningful" Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

On Monday, the PLO announced that the US had ordered the closure of its Washington DC mission. The US State Department later confirmed the move, stating that the Palestinian Authority (PA) had consistently refused to engage with the US government or to support peace talks with Israel.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the Trump administration's decision.

“The US took the correct decision,” Netanyahu said. “Israel supports these actions that are meant to make it clear to the Palestinians that refusing to negotiate will not bring about peace.”

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