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Netanyahu praises US decision to close Palestinian mission

Netanyahu at the new US embassy in Jerusalem [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 September, 2018

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The Trump administration maintains close ties to the right-wing Israeli premier and has been accused of being one-sided on Israel-Palestine issues.
Israel's prime minister on Tuesday praised the US decision to shut down the Palestine Liberation Organisation's mission in Washington.

"The US made the correct decision regarding the PLO mission in Washington," Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement published on Twitter.

The comment comes a day after the US State Department announced it would not grant the Palestinian mission its normal six-month renewal, accusing Palestinian leaders of refusing to negotiate.

The PLO cut contact with Washington after President Donald Trump recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, breaking with decades of US policy that its status would be determined in future negotations. 

"Israel supports American actions that are designed to make it clear to the Palestinians that refusing to negotiate and attempts to attack Israel in international forums will not advance peace," Netanyahu said.

The State Department cited a move by the Palestinians to have Israeli officials prosecuted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague as one of the reasons for closing the mission, saying such actions violated conditions set for the delegation in Washington.

Husam Zomlot, head of the PLO mission in Washington, told journalists in Ramallah that the closure was "to protect Israel from war crimes, crimes against humanity that Israel is committing in the occupied Palestinian territories".

The State Department has also accused Palestinian leaders of rejecting outright a still unseen US peace plan, while in turn the Trump administration is viewed by the Palestinians as being biased in favour of Israel.

Trump has withheld aid from the Palestinians and on Friday the US confirmed it was to end all funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the organisation which provides assistance to some 5 million Palestinian refugees across the region.

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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