Trump threatens to shutter Palestinian office pending peace talks: report

Trump threatens to shutter Palestinian office pending peace talks: report
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The Trump administration warned the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) on Friday that the U.S. will close its office in Washington unless it determines that the Palestinians have entered "direct and meaningful negotiations" for a peace deal with Israel.

The Associated Press reported Friday that Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonBolton says Russia, China seeking to promote discord in Trump administration Bolton says Russia, China seeking to promote discord in Trump administration Trump's nastiest break-ups: A look at the president's most fiery feuds MORE had determined that the Palestinians violated a U.S. law, requiring the PLO to close its office in Washington if it calls on the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis. 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly called in September for the ICC to investigate and charge Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

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The Trump administration now has 90 days to determine whether the Palestinians are engaged in serious peace talks with Israel, according to the AP.

Since taking office, President Trump has sought to broker a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel — a task that even presidents with more experience in the region have failed to complete.

But by putting the Palestinians on notice, Trump could potentially gain more leverage in negotiations, the AP reported. 

According to U.S. law, once the government determines that the Palestinians have broken the mandate not to call for ICC prosecution of Israelis, it has 90 days to decide whether the PLO's Washington office will be allowed to remain open.

The president can set aside that requirement if he certifies to Congress that the Palestinians have entered into serious peace talks with Israel.