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December 17, 2012 10:44 am

U.S. Lawmakers Petition Obama to Close PLO’s Washington Office

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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging President Barack Obama to close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington, DC, in response to the unilateral Palestinian action to upgrade its status at the UN last month, Israel National News reported.

The group of lawmakers, which included Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA), Edward Royce (R-CA), and Eliot Engel (D-NY), circulated a letter expressing their anger at the Palestinian UN moves and urged a strong American response, such as closing the PLO’s office.

“We are deeply disappointed and upset that the Palestinian leadership rebuffed the entreaties of your Administration and the Congress and insisted on pursuing this distinctly unhelpful initiative,” the letter states.

“One important way of expressing U.S. disapproval would be to send the message that such actions are not cost-free and that, at a minimum, they result in setbacks to U.S.-Palestinian relations,” the letter adds.

Several prominent pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) support the move. However, left-leaning groups such as J Street and Peace Now oppose it.

While short of full member status, the upgraded status may allow the Palestinians to join several UN agencies and treaties, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), where the Palestinians could bring criminal charges against Israel. Recently, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to pursue Israel in the ICC in response to Israel’s plan to build Jewish homes in the controversial E1 area.

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