Palestinians say United States attacks int’l law with UN funding cuts

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The State Department announced Monday it would close the mission, accusing the Palestinians of refusing to engage with the United States or Israel and of rejecting outright a still-unseen USA peace plan.

"As such, and reflecting Congressional concerns, the Administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point", the statement added.

The United States on Monday will adopt an aggressive posture against the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, threatening sanctions against its judges if they proceed with an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan.

The Trump administration dramatically ratchetted up its rhetoric by threatening sanctions if the court pursues investigations against the U.S., Israel or other allies.

The move also comes as the US administration prepares to unveil a controversial Middle East peace plan known as the "Deal of the Century".

President Donald Trump is closing the Palestine Liberation Organization's mission in Washington, the latest US blow against the Palestinians and an worldwide court during the stalled Mideast peace process.

Husam Zomlot told The Associated Press the closure of the PLO mission would not deter Palestinians from seeking a state with east Jerusalem as the capital.

The PLO office in Washington has always been the focus of controversy.

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Earlier this month, Trump made good on his promise to cut all American funding to UNRWA, the United Nations body set up to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee issue, one of the major roadblocks to peace.

Dozens of Palestinians were killed in protests that followed the move, and Palestinians have since rejected the U.S.as a peace broker. "We will sanction their funds in the USA financial system, and we will prosecute them in the United States criminal system", Bolton said.

The administration is trying to draw a connection between the two and pressure Palestinians to talk directly with Israel.

Although the Israelis and Palestinians are not engaged in active, direct negotiations, Trump's administration has been working to mediate a peace deal that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel says Khan al-Ahmar, an encampment of corrugated shacks east of Jerusalem, was illegally built and has offered to resettle residents 12 kilometres (7 miles) away.

"Any U.S. action to scuttle ICC inquiries on Afghanistan and Palestine would demonstrate that the administration was more concerned with coddling serial rights abusers - and deflecting scrutiny of U.S. conduct in Afghanistan - than supporting impartial justice", said Human Rights Watch.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) called the measure a "New Year's gift" to Israel and the Jewish people.

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