US to close PLO office in Washington

National security adviser John Bolton plans to announce the PLO office’s closure in a speech to the Federalist Society, a conservative group, on Monday, Sep 10. (photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images)
National security adviser John Bolton also plans to threaten sanctions against International Criminal Court.

By Michael Gordon | The Wall Street Journal | Sep 10, 2018

All of this is making sure the U.S. will never ever play the role of the peacemaker.
— Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian representative to Washington

The Trump administration is expected to announce Monday that it will close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, administration officials said Sunday night, widening a U.S. campaign of pressure amid stalled Middle East peace efforts.

“The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel,” national security adviser John Bolton planned to say in a speech he is scheduled to deliver Monday, according a draft of his prepared remarks reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

“The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” he is planning to add.

Senior Palestinian officials strongly condemned the Trump administration decision and described it as a “reckless escalation.”

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Did Trump kill off a two-state solution?

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Palestinians demonstrating in Jerusalem, Dec 7, 2017. (photo: Uriel Sinai / The New York Times)

A one-state solution may now be the only viable option.

By Mark Lander, David Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner | The New York Times | Dec 7, 2017


“They’ve left us with no option [except a one-state solution],” he said. “This is the reality. We live here. Our struggle should focus on one thing: equal rights.”
— Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization


President Trump, in formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, declared that the United States still supported a two-state solution to settle the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, provided it was “agreed to by both sides.”

For the first time in his 26 years as a peacemaker, the chief negotiator for the Palestinians did not agree.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a steadfast advocate for a Palestinian state, said in an interview on Thursday that Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “have managed to destroy that hope.” He embraced a radical shift in the P.L.O.’s goals — to a single state, but with Palestinians enjoying the same civil rights as Israelis, including the vote.

Continue reading “Did Trump kill off a two-state solution?”

Jews and Palestinians Working Together

To Bring Peace to the Middle East

By Jeremy Ben-Ami and Maen Rashid Areikat
The Seattle Times
October 16, 2016


“The time when one side can afford to deny the presence of the other is long gone. The stark truth is that there are two peoples living on the same land and dividing it between them is the only way to bury this long conflict once and for all.”


[Note: The authors will be speaking at Town Hall Seattle on Wednesday evening at 7:00]

For decades, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the larger Arab-Israeli conflict have cast a dark shadow over the Middle East. This conflict has cost human lives and drained vital resources. It has denied millions of people in the region the opportunity to prosper and grow away from the threat of confrontation, occupation and violence.

We know how this can and must end: a two-state solution ensuring that two states, Israel and Palestine, can live in peace and security, with both sides accepting and recognizing the national and legitimate rights of the other. This is not a zero-sum game — the fates of both peoples are permanently intertwined, and neither can truly flourish while the other suffers. [Continue reading here . . . ]