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PLO officials: 'Palestinians will not surrender'

Sept. 10, 2018 2:02 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 11, 2018 12:11 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), responded on Monday to the expected announcement that the United States administration will close the PLO’s office in Washington as part of a widening US pressure campaign on Palestinian officials amid stalled Middle East peace prospects.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, said in a statement "It is ironic that the US is punishing the PLO, the national representative of the Palestinian people and the highest political body that made the commitment to reaching a political and legal settlement of the Palestinian question and that has engaged in negotiations with successive US administrations for decades."

"It is also extremely cruel and spiteful to persist in deliberately bashing the Palestinian people by denying them of their rights, giving away their lands and rightful capital of Jerusalem, and defunding UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) and Palestinian institutions, including East Jerusalem hospitals.:

She stressed "Such irresponsible moves are clear proof of American collusion with Israel's occupation and the rewards, inducements and incentives it provides Israel, as well as a total ignorance of the requirements of a just peace based on international law and respect for human rights."

Ashrawi concluded "Palestinians will not surrender and that no amount of coercion or unwarranted collective punitive measures will bring the Palestinian leadership or people to their knees."

Saeb Erekat also responded to the closure in a press release "This is yet another affirmation of the Trump Administration’s policy to collectively punish the Palestinian people, including by cutting financial support for humanitarian services including health and education."

Erekat warned that "this dangerous escalation shows that the US is willing to disband the international system in order to protect Israeli crimes and attacks against the land and people of Palestine as well as against peace and security in the rest of our region."

Erekat was referring to the US threatening the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, of not prosecuting any Israeli officials as demanded by the Palestinians otherwise it will be subjected to severe sanctions.

"The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale, that we will not succumb to US threats and bullying and that we will continue our legitimate struggle for freedom, justice, and independence, including by all political and legal means possible."

He added "Accordingly, we continue to call upon the International Criminal Court to open its immediate investigation into Israeli crimes."

Erekat called on the international community to respond to the awaited US administration’s decision, emphasizing "Lowering the flag of Palestine in Washington DC means much more than a new slap by the Trump administration against peace and justice; it symbolizes the US attacks against the international system as a whole, including the Paris Convention, UNESCO and the Human Rights Council among others."

Additionally, Erekat said that the PLO will take necessary measures to protect the rights of Palestinians living in the US to be able to access their consular services.

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