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Efforts Mounting in Congress to Close PLO Offices in the U.S.

Efforts are mounting in Congress to close the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization based in the United States.

Rep. Jack Kemp (R. NY) has introduced legislation that would make it a felony to aid the PLO. He said the purpose of his bill, which is pending in the House Judiciary Committee, is to “establish unequivocal statutory authority” to shut down PLO offices in the United States.

Kemp said the offices are in violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) which makes it unlawful for an organization to engage in criminal activities and the UN Charter which prohibits the threat or use of force against any state.

But a Justice Department spokesman said there is no legal basis for shutting the PLO offices under the RICO Act because they are not in the purpose of making money. There is also no evidence that the PLO ordered the killing of any Americans, said the spokesman.

“I remain unconvinced that present law does not provide ample basis to end PLO activities in the United States. But at a minimum, my bill should clear that up,” said Kemp, who has been pressing the State Department for over a year to close the PLO offices.

“Ostensibly they have a right to be here, if they’re engaged in legal activity,” said a spokesperson for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), “but not if they’re involved in . . . facilitating liaisons between terrorists.”

The PLO have two offices in the U.S.–an information office based in downtown Washington and an Observer Mission in the United Nations headquarters in New York established as a consequence of General Assembly Resolution 3237 in 1974 which invited the PLO to participate as an observer in the session and work at the General Assembly.

“The United States has accorded the PLO every opportunity and incentive to moderate its views and its actions. Unfortunately, recent events have reaffirmed the extremism of the PLO and its adherence to terrorism,” Kemp said.

“By making it a criminal offense to support PLO actions, we will be declaring our intolerance of any who would offer aid and comfort to international terrorists,” he said.

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