Posted by Guest on November 22, 2017 in Blog

by Sarah Seniuk

AAI President James Zogby, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee President Samer Khalaf and American Federation of Ramallah Palestine President Hanna Hanania participated in a press call to discuss the threat facing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) General Delegation office in Washington, DC. Over the weekend, the US State Department declared that it would not renew the license for the PLO’s diplomatic office following Palestine’s decision to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) and pursue charges against Israeli war crimes.

Dr. Zogby noted the hypocrisy of the move, recalling the disproportionate measures instituted against Palestine following the Oslo Accords: “... over the years, Congress has changed this law, modified it, to add new encumbrances on the Palestinians, banning them from joining international organizations as a member state, and then more recently forbidding them from bringing their case to the International Criminal Court. To me it’s the same thing as if Congress were to have passed a law that forbade you from reporting to the police the fact that your house was being robbed, and made you the guilty party for having reported that crime.”

Banning the PLO from having a diplomatic presence in Washington, DC undermines both the intent and work of the peace-building process. AAI partnered with ten other Arab American and Palestinian groups to encourage Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to allow the PLO office to continue its important diplomatic work in the US. The full letter can be found here.

Sarah Seniuk is a 2017 fall intern at the Arab American Institute.