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Arab-Americans protest PLO office closure in Washington

Oct. 11, 2018 4:10 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 17, 2018 2:11 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Arab-Americans, as well as representatives of Jewish and Christian organizations, demonstrated, on Wednesday, outside of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) office in Washington, against the date set by the United States State Department for the office to shut down after 24 years in operation.

In September, the State Department ordered the closure of the PLO office due to the "Palestinians refusing to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel," according to US National Security Advisor, John Bolton.

Member of the PLO mission, Shahinaz Wafi, spoke to the demonstrators and told them that the closure of the PLO office means "cutting diplomatic and political relations between Palestine and the US."

Hanna Hanania, head of the American Ramallah Federation, said that the "Palestinian presence in the US will continue despite the closure of the PLO office and work will continue on pressing for reopening it."

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Malki, mentioned that the plaque at the building, which identifies it as the PLO office, will be removed, however, the Palestinian flag will remain hoisted, as it is a private building, unless the owner is forced by the US government to remove it.

The PLO office in Washington has long been the focus of controversy since last year, when the US Trump administration warned that it might close the office after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for the investigation and prosecution of Israeli officials by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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