Palestinian Authority rejects Trump threat to put Ramallah 'on notice'

Palestinian Authority rejects Trump threat to put Ramallah 'on notice'
Ramallah said it would not give in to US 'extortion' after reports Trump threatened to close the Palestinian Authority diplomatic mission in Washington.
2 min read
18 November, 2017
PA Foreign Minister Malki slammed the US demands [AFP]



Ramallah has rejected an alleged threat by US President Donald Trump to close the Palestinian Authority diplomatic mission in Washington unless it enters into "serious" peace talks with Israel.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he would not give in to Washington's "extortion" and was waiting for a response from the White House about the claims.

"The ball is now in the American court," he told Palestine Radio.

"The Palestinian leadership will not accept any extortion or pressure."

It follows comments from US officials that Trump had given the Palestinian leadership 90 days to make a decision on entering into "serious" peace talks with Israel. 

If Ramallah refused to agree, the US would shutter the Palestinian Authority's diplomatic mission in Washington, an AP report said.

Ramallah is subject to strict US 2015 regulations that allows Washington to shutter the Palestinian Authority's mission in the US if it does not comply with certain conditions.

One of these conditions is that the PA should not pursue Israelis for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.

Rex Tillerson on Friday refused to agree that the PA was working according to the mandate and that Ramallah had been notified, Times of Israel reported.

"We were unable to make a new certification, and have notified the PLO accordingly," a State Department source told the Israeli daily. 

"The secretary concluded that the factual record, in particular certain statements made by Palestinian leaders about the ICC, did not permit him to make the factual certification required by the statute."

PA President Mahmoud's Abbas has called for Israel to be prosecuted by the ICC over settlement activities and other "aggressions", a move the US strongly opposed.

The 2015 law also states that the PA must pursue "direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel", something Trump will argue Ramallah is refusing to do if it doesn't abide to the US ultimatum.

Donald Trump has made it a priority of his foreign policy to establish a lasting peace deal between Israel and Palestinians.

Trump's son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner is leading efforts to bridge the gap between the two sides.

Palestinians are unconvinced by the efforts, mindful that Trump is a close ally of Israel and that any peace deal put forward by Washington is likely to strongly in favour of Tel Aviv.