THE TRUMP administration announced yesterday that it will shut the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) diplomatic office in Washington with US national security advisor John Bolton stating ‘The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel.’
Bolton continued: ‘The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.’
The ‘meaningful negotiations’ Bolton is referring to is Trump’s so-called ‘ultimate deal’ the details of which have not been published but which amounts to nothing more than the Palestinian people completely surrendering all of their rights and land including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the homes they have been driven out of by the Zionists.
Trump’s ultimate deal is to impose on the Palestinian people by force a one-state solution and that state US imperialism intends to ensure being the state of Israel.
Last November, Trump announced that the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington on the grounds that the PLO were pursuing the demand that Israel be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer for its crimes against the Palestinian people.
Along with closure of the Washington office the US government threatened to withhold millions of dollars of US aid to the Palestinian Authority. It was assumed these threats would bring the PLO leadership to heel and force them to accept Trump’s ultimate deal.
Instead Trump’s threats were met with defiance from the Secretary General of the PLO, Saeb Erekat who threatened to break off all talks with the US and sink any prospects of negotiations.
Trump immediately did a U-turn and put closure on hold, but this was only a temporary retreat. Yesterday’s announcement comes just weeks after the US announced it would cut more than $200 million in bilateral assistance to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
As for the ICC Bolton said: ‘The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.’
If the ICC proceeds with investigations into war crimes committed by US service personnel or puts Israel in the dock over its crimes against the Palestinian people, then the Trump administration will ban judges and prosecutors from entering the US, seize any funds they might have in the country and prosecute them in the American courts.
This latest attack by US imperialism has been met with renewed defiance from the PLO leadership. Hanan Ashrawi of the PLO Executive Committee said: ‘The US would do better to finally understand that the 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.’
This defiant message was echoed by Saeb Erekat who stated: ‘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.’
He reiterated that: ‘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. Accordingly, we continue to call upon the International Criminal Court to open its immediate investigation into Israeli crimes.’
Unable to bully and threaten the Palestinians into accepting a deal that hands their country and people over to the Zionists the US has declared war not just on Palestine but on the peoples of the entire region. The fight is now openly on for the independent state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.
It is a battle that the British working class must come to the aid of the Palestinians, by kicking out this Tory government along with its slavish support of Israel and going forward to a workers government that will immediately recognise the independent state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital and provide all the material support necessary for its growth and survival.