WASHINGTON (May. 14)
Support grew rapidly in Congress this week to have the Administration shut down the two offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the United States on grounds that a terrorist organization has no business in this country and is a menace to security. The State Department said it has the matter under “review.”
Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, the Senate Republican leader, drew strong bipartisan support for a measure he introduced Wednesday to close the PLO’s Information Center in Washington and its Observer Mission at the United Nations in New York.
Backing him were Sens. Rudy Boschwitz (R. Minn.), Charles Grassley (R. Iowa), Frank Lautenberg (D. NJ), Alfonse D’Amato (R. NY) and Howard Metzenbaum (D. Ohio). Dole said his bill was designed “to strengthen the defenses of this country against the real physical threat that the PLO represents.”
SIMILAR MEASURE IN THE HOUSE
A similar measure was introduced in the House last week by Rep. Jack Kemp (R. NY). It would make it a felony to aid the PLO whose offices he said are in violation of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). State Department spokesman Charles Redman told reporters Wednesday that legislators have sent letters demanding the closure of the PLO offices. “We are reviewing whether the U.S. government has the authority to close these offices,” Redman said.
“Neither one belongs in this country,” Grassley said. “It’s time they were closed.” Grassley, a strong supporter of the Administration, complained that earlier attempts at legal action to close them “have largely gone unheeded by the Administration.”
Lautenberg said “The PLO has been implicated in the murder of U.S. diplomats overseas, and has proudly taken credit for the murders of dozens of American citizens abroad.”
AN ACTION LONG OVERDUE
D’Amato declared, “The PLO has no business operating in the United States, let alone in the rest of the world. The closing of all PLO offices which are used to support the murderous operations of these terrorist thugs is an action which has long been overdue.”
He noted that, “Certain Arab nations such as Egypt, Morocco and Jordan have recently ordered PLO offices closed. And just last month, the PLO rededicated itself to the use of violence to promote its goals at the Palestine National Council.” He was referring to the meeting in Algiers of the PNC, the so-called Palestinian parliament in exile.
“There is simply no justification for the U.S. permitting any further use of its territory to support the operations of the PLO,” D’Amato said.
The PLO Observer Mission at the UN was established as a consequence of General Assembly Resolution 3237 in 1974. The Washington office is registered with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.