Palestinian Liberation Organzation office in Washington
Palestinian Liberation Organzation office in WashingtonREUTERS

The US has reportedly ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization’s envoy to the US, Husam Zomlot, out of the country, following the closure of the PLO’s office in Washington DC.

According to a report by the Lebanon-based Al Mayadeen news outlet, the US cancelled visas for Zomlot and his family, closed US bank accounts, and ordered him to leave the country.

“The American authorities cancelled my visa and my family’s visa,” said Zomlot, “and closed our bank accounts. We’ve been ordered to leave Washington immediately.”

Zomlot and his family have reportedly left the country, and are en route to Ramallah, Ma’an reported.

PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi blasted the Trump administration for the move, calling it “cruel” and comparing the move to “blackmail”.

"As if the announcement that the U.S. would close our office in Washington D.C. was not enough, this vindictive action by the Trump administration is spiteful. The U.S. has taken its attempts to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians to a new level,” Ashrawi said, according to WAFA.

Last week, the White House ordered the shuttering of the PLO’s mission in Washington, citing the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to return to the negotiating table.

"We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017," a State Department spokesperson stated.

Zomlot blasted the Trump administration last week in a social media post, calling the decision to close the mission “vindictive”.

“Today is the deadline they put for our ability as mission to continue our growing outreach efforts to the American people.”

“While the decision by the Trump administration to close our mission is unfortunate and vindictive, it was unsurprising to us.”