Palestinians’ Washington office can remain open, but only for peace activities


(JTA) — The Trump administration will allow the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, D.C., to remain open but will require it to “limit its activities to those related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

The State Department announced the decision Friday, saying the restrictions could be lifted after 90 days if the United States determines the Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in “meaningful” peace negotiations.

“We therefore are optimistic that at the end of this 90-day period, the political process may be sufficiently advanced that the president will be in a position to allow the PLO office to resume full operations,” State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said.

Earlier this month, the administration announced that the PLO cannot operate a Washington office because it tried to convince the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. It was the first time since the 1980s that the the State Department refused to renew certification of the PLO’s office in the U.S. capital, which must be done every since months.

The Trump administration is working on a U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace in an effort led by the president’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior White House advisor, and special negotiator Jason Greenblatt.

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