The US Congress is looking into closing the official Palestinian representation in Washington, should the Palestinians follow through with their threats to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that separate bills have been submitted to this effect in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both were proposed by Republican legislators, including presidential candidate Ted Cruz.
The bill before the House notes that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was granted a special dispensation from the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987 so that it could directly negotiate with Israel, and that the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement forbids any changes to the status of the West Bank or Gaza outside of negotiations. It then lists a number developments to show that the Palestinians are forcing a particular outcome by appealing to foreign countries and international organizations, while continuing to support terror against Israeli civilians.
In light of these facts, the drafters call for enforcing the clause in the Anti-Terrorism Act forbidding the creation or upkeep of "an office, headquarters, premises, or other facilities or establishments within the jurisdiction of the United States at the behest or direction of, or with funds provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization or any of its constituent groups, any successor to any of those, or any agents thereof."
The Palestinian delegation would only be reopened after the PLO ceases paying salaries to terrorists, stops inciting against Israel and the US, and undertakes good-faith negotiations with Israel.
"The Palestinian Liberation Organization has for decades been a relentless advocate for terrorist violence against the Jewish people,” Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon. “The United States needs to make it perfectly clear to the Palestinians that this behavior is intolerable, and that we stand with our ally Israel"
The Palestinian Authority uses the delegation as its embassy to the United States.
Congress is working to shut down the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Washington, D.C., office as punishment for breaching agreements barring it from sponsoring terrorism and inciting violence against Israel, according to a copy of new legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
An executive waiver signed by former president Bill Clinton in 1994 nullified laws prohibiting terrorist fronts from operating on U.S. soil and allowed for the establishment of the PLO office in D.C. The Palestinian delegation was tasked with helping to facilitate the implementation of the Oslo Accords peace agreement with Israel.
Lawmakers charge that, since its establishment, the PLO—which was designated by the United States as a terror group in 1987—has violated multiple agreements with Israel and the international community, thereby violating waivers permitting it to operate with immunity on U.S. soil.
The new legislation would alter U.S. anti-terrorism laws to classify the PLO mission in D.C. as illegitimate, according to a copy of the legislation, which was jointly filed in the House and Senate Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) and Mark Meadows (R., N.C.).
The bill would further mandate that to retain its right to exist in the United States, the PLO must stop paying terrorists a salary, end its incitement against the United States and Israel, and enter into good-faith peace negotiations with the Jewish state.
“The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has failed to live up to its commitment to a bilateral peace process with Israel, renounce violence, accept Israel’s right to exist, honor previous diplomatic agreements made by the Palestinians, and continues to circumvent a negotiated settlement with Israel by seeking unilateral statehood at the United Nations and from other countries, and continues to actively endorse terror,” the lawmakers write in the legislation.
The United States must stop turning a “blind eye” to the PLO’s ongoing endorsement of terrorism, Cruz told the Free Beacon on Thursday.
“The Palestinian Liberation Organization has for decades been a relentless advocate for terrorist violence against the Jewish people,” Cruz said. “The United States needs to make it perfectly clear to the Palestinians that this behavior is intolerable, and that we stand with our ally Israel,” Cruz said.
“Closing the PLO office in Washington, D.C., sends the clear signal that the days of America turning a blind eye to the militant anti-Semitism of this organization are over, and that we will no longer allow political correctness to force us to host terrorist organizations in Washington, D.C,” he said.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is made up of a number of groups, the largest being the PLO. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is also the head of the PLO, and the PA uses the Washington PLO delegation as its diplomatic base in the US.
Last year, a US court found the PLO responsible for terror attacks that killed 33 people, including US citizens.