The Trump administration has taken a hard line against Palestine in order to show their dedication to the state of Israel. After announcing possible sanctions against the International Criminal Court and closing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) General Delegation Office in Washington DC, Trump followed that up by revoking the visas of the Palestinian envoy and his family.
The administration has revoked the visa of Husam Zomlot, who was the highest-ranking Palestinian official in the United States. His wife and two young children will be removed from the country as well. Previously, their visas did not expire until 2020. The Palestinians, predictably, are outraged at what they feel are drastic measures from President Trump.
“As if the announcement that the US would close our office in Washington, DC was not enough, this vindictive action by the Trump administration is spiteful,” PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said earlier today. “The US has taken its attempts to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians to a new level.”
The United States is standing firm despite the anger from the Palestinians. They remain steadfastly behind the state of Israel and will use the tools at their disposal to force the PLO’s hand in the peace process.
“We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017,” said Heather Nauert, who serves as the spokeswoman for the US State Department. “However, the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”
“To the contrary,” she added, “PLO leadership has condemned a US peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the US government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise.”
Trump claims there is one way for Palestine to get back its federal aid money: by sitting down at the table with the Israelis and hashing out a workable peace plan.
“I’d say, you’ll get money, but we’re not paying you until we make a deal. If we don’t make a deal, we’re not paying,” Trump said on a phone call featuring many Jewish leaders during Rosh Hashanah.
Only time will tell if Trump’s tough tactics pay off in the Middle East, but it is clear that the days of appeasing terror groups and their allies are over as long as 45 is in the White House.