Palestinians’ Washington office can remain open, but only for peace activities


The flag of the Palestine Liberation Organization seen above its offices in Washington, D.C., Nov. 18, 2017. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The Trump administration will allow the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington DC to remain open but will require it to “limit its activities to those related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

The restrictions were announced by the State Department on Friday, and could be lifted after 90 days if the US determines the Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in “meaningful” peace negotiations.

“We therefore are optimistic that at the end of this 90-day period, the political process may be sufficiently advanced that the president will be in a position to allow the PLO office to resume full operations,” State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that the PLO cannot operate a Washington office because it tried to convince the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

It was the first time the State Department refused to renew permission for the PLO to operate its office in Washington, D.C., for in about three decades. The certification must be renewed every six months.

The Trump administration is working on a U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace in an effort led by the president’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior White House advisor, and special negotiator Jason Greenblatt.