US decision to close PLO office in Washington focus of dailies

RAMALLAH, US President Donald Trump administration’s decision to close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington along with official Palestinian responses dominated the front page headlines in Palestinian Arabic dailies on Tuesday.

Al-Quds reported that the US administration closes the PLO office in Washington in response to the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to accept Trump’s peace proposal, dubbed deal of the century, and negotiate with Israel.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said in this regard that the US administration’s decision to shutter the PLO office in Washington marks an escalation against Palestine.

Highlighting official Palestinian responses to the decision, Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh was reported in the dailies stating: Holding on to Jerusalem and the refugees issue is more important than ]maintaining[ the relationship with the US.

Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat was reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida warning that the US move 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.

He was also reported vowing that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would continue to call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to open an investigation and prosecute Israeli officials.

Additionally, the dailies spotlighted US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s aggressive remarks against the ICC.

They said that Washington threatens to sanction ICC judges and prosecutors if ICC attempts to investigate or consider any war crime charges against the US or Israel.

Moreover, al-Quds and al-Ayyam reported CEO of the Lutheran World Federation’s Augusta Victoria Hospital Walid Nammour warning of the repercussions of the US administration’s decision to cut off over $20 million for hospitals in East Jerusalem.

Nammour reportedly warned of the catastrophic consequences of the US decision and that it puts the health of 5 million Palestinians at risk.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported in this regard Premier Rami Hamdallah pledging that the government would compensate for the $25 million cut by the US administration for the six hospitals in East Jerusalem.

On the other hand, al-Hayat al-Jadida opted to highlight President Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks during a meeting with a delegation of the Palestinian Arab Liberation Front at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.

Abbas reportedly stated: Regardless of the pressures to eliminate the Palestinian question, the Palestinian people would become more committed to its free will, hopes and aspirations to freedom and independence.

Regarding the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, al-Quds said that they would Today discuss the consequences of the US escalation against the PA.

It also reported Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abul Gheit stating that Washington seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and liquidate the refugees issue.

According to al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida, Arab foreign ministers are expected to discuss a number of draft resolutions on Palestine.

Yet, the dailies said that Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian protestors who gathered on the beach and sailed in boats near the marine barrier off the northern coast of Gaza, injuring 49 protestors with bullets and tear gas.

According to al-Quds, Israeli forces stormed a Palestinian school in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, attacking students and teachers.

Soldiers reportedly showered the building was tear gas canisters and stun grenades, causing several students to suffer from tear gas inhalation.

Al-Quds and al-Ayyam also reported that Israeli settlers uprooted over 15 Palestinian-owned olive trees in al-Hamra area, east of the southern West Bank town of Yatta.

According to al-Quds, the Malaysian government launched a national fundraising campaign to support UNRWA.

It reported member of the PLO Executive Committee Adnan Husseini stating that the committee discussed the reconciliation issue and the implications of the US administration’s decision closing the PLO office in Washington.

It published a translation for AFP’s report Oslo’s bid for Mideast peace fades 25 years on.

Regarding the Israeli court’s decision approving demolition of Khan al-Ahmar Palestinian Bedouin village, east of Jerusalem, al-Quds highlighted calls for Palestinians to en masse gather at the site in protest of the imminent demolition.

Al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida added that five European states urged Israel not to demolish Khan al-Ahmar, which set to be razed within the coming few days.

According to al-Ayyam, Hamas security forces prevented a protest against the US decision to cut off funding to UNRWA in Gaza city.

It added UNRWA appeals for funds from Arab and European countries amid worst financial crisis in its history.

Moreover, al-Hayat al-Jadida reported the Commission for Parliamentary Blocs and Lists slamming Hamas official Ahmad Bahr’s statements accusing Abbas of thwarting efforts to achieve reconciliation and ceasefire with Israel.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

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