|credit: Wikimedia Commons/Bjoertvedt|
A bipartisan group of 239 U.S. Representatives has penned a letter calling on President Barack Obama to close the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, D.C. as punishment for the upgrade of their status in the United Nations after a highly lopsided General Assembly vote.
Similar calls have been made in the past and Israeli officials have punished Palestinians for the UN General Assembly’s vote as well.
In addition for calling for the closure of the PLO’s Washington office, the letter calls for the defunding of any UN-affiliated entities that enhance PLO membership.
“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,” said the letter, sent Dec. 21.
“We can do this by closing the PLO office in Washington D.C. We can also call our Consul-General in Jerusalem home for consultations,” the letter stated.
The letter was initiated by incoming and outgoing leaders of both the Republicans and Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to Israeli news outlet Haaretz.
Prominent signatories include House majority leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and minority whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
The punishment is in response to the PLO being upgraded to non-member observer state after a landslide General Assembly vote in the UN.
Haaretz points out that this elevation of status could “facilitate efforts to charge Israel with war crimes in the international court system,” seeing as they now have access to previously restricted international entities.
The letter was initiated by outgoing chair, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and incoming chair Ed Royce (R-Calif.) along with outgoing ranking Democrat Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and incoming ranking Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).
Unsurprisingly, the letter received the backing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a prominent pro-Israel group.
The letter comes after there was an attempt earlier in December to attach an amendment quite similar to the letter to a defense funding bill, although the amendment never came to a vote.
However, the letter is not identical since it does not include a call to defund the Palestinian Authority, a call which was included in the Senate amendment.
In addition to the letter, Ros-Lehtinen, along with a bipartisan group of 59 other legislators, sent a letter thanking the seven nations other than the U.S. and Israel that voted against the elevation of the Palestinian status in the UN.
The seven countries were Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru , Palau and Panama, with 41 other countries abstaining from the vote. The final tally was 138-9 in favor of enhancing Palestinian statehood status in the UN, although their improved status is still far from full statehood.
Since the U.S. has veto power in the United Nations Security Council, full statehood for Palestine is not a realistic at this time.
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM - 9 PM PT/10 PM - 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com
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