WASHINGTON (JTA) – The American Israel Public Affairs Committee called for a "full review" of the U.S. relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization, including shutting its Washington office, in the wake of its obtaining non-member state status at the United Nations.
"In requesting this action, PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is effectively turning his back on talks with Israel and destroying his credibility as someone genuinely interested in a serious peace process," AIPAC said in a statement after the U.N. General Assembly approved non-member state status for the PLO on Thursday evening by a vote of 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions.
"Congress has specifically linked continued aid and the operation of the PLO office in Washington to the Palestinians not seeking statehood status at the United Nation," it said. "AIPAC applauds this congressional leadership and urges a full review of America’s relations with the PLO, including closure of the PLO’s office in Washington."
In fact, laws passed by Congress to date impose penalties for full U.N. membership, not the non-member status obtained Thursday.
A number of proposed laws now under consideration would, however, extend those penalties to the Palestinian Authority and to the United Nations for obtaining non-member statehood recognition.
The likeliest to pass, proposed Thursday by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John Barrasso (R-Wy.), is conditional: It would cut foreign assistance to the Palestinians in the event they used their new U.N. status to press charges against Israel in the U.N. court system, and would shut the Washington office only if the Palestinian do not return to meaningful talks with Israel.