Palestinian officials considering retaliatory measures against US penalties
A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) says the body is weighing retaliatory measures against US penalties, including halting security cooperation.
“It’s among possible steps we are thinking about,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, said during a press conference in Ramallah on Wednesday.
“We are thinking of many things that can be done,” she added.
In the recent months, the administration of US President Donald Trump has executed a series of punitive measures against Palestinians in a bid to push them to the negotiating table in pursuit of the so-called peace plan that he calls as the “ultimate deal.”
Late last month, Washington decided to cancel all US funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as the first step.
Later, the US State Department announced that Washington had canceled over $200 million in funds for the Palestinian Authority, leading Palestinian officials to denounce the move as “blackmail.”
The US administration also closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington on Monday, after it accused the Palestinian officials of not supporting peace talks with Israel.
Palestinian leaders maintain that all these decisions are blatantly biased in favor of Israel and are designed to force them into accepting Trump’s terms.
“This American administration has adopted wholesale all the positions of the most extreme, right-wing, hard-line, racist Israeli government in the history of Israel,” Ashrawi added.
She reiterated that the Palestinian leadership would discuss possible responses after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends the UN General Assembly meeting in New York later this month.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US decision to shut the Palestinian mission in Washington.
“The (Palestinians’) refusal to enter into negotiations with Israel and the unbridled attacks against Israel will not only not advance peace but will certainly not make things better for the Palestinians,” he told members of his cabinet on Wednesday.
Ties between the US and Palestine have sharply deteriorated since Trump sparked international outrage on December 6, 2017 by declaring that Washington was recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and that he had instructed his administration to begin the process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the ancient city.
The announcement prompted harsh international warnings that it would bring more chaos to the Middle East region.
The US finally relocated its embassy to the holy city in May.