U.S. plans to close PLO office in D.C., Bolton blasts Int’l Criminal Court

The State Department is announcing the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington.

The department said Monday that the PLO “has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

 
 

It accuses the Palestinian leadership of condemning a yet-to-be-released Trump administration plan to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It also contends that the PLO is refusing to engage with the U.S. government on peace efforts.

In its statement, the department says its decision is also consistent with administration and congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.

The Palestinian leadership accuses the U.S. administration of bias toward Israel. The administration has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cut aid to Palestinians.

President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, called the court “illegitimate” and said “for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

 

Bolton, speaking at the conservative Federalist Society in Washington, said the court threatens the “constitutional rights” of Americans and U.S. sovereignty.

The ICC, which is based in the Hague, has a mandate to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute that established the court, but his successor, George W. Bush, renounced the signature, citing fears that Americans would be unfairly prosecuted for political reasons.

 

This article originally appeared on  NBC