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Abbas: Arab Spring was to divide Arab states, If no PLO flag in Washington, no PLO office

Excerpt of a speech given by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the PLO Central Council on Jan. 14, 2018

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "My brothers, the Arab Spring, which in my opinion is the Arab Autumn and the American Autumn, was imported to us, and reached us after we read the maps that the American newspapers circulated for the division of the Arab states… Now they told us that they want to close the PLO office in Washington. We asked why, and they said that [US] President [Trump] did not sign the renewal of the certificate, the license, and therefore you need to take down the flag, and need [to do] such and such, and thus began the battle between us. We of course said to them first: ‘If the flag comes down we are closing the office, and do not want an office, and do not want to be in Washington.’ Then they said: ‘Take it easy.’ We told them we didn't want to [take it easy]."

PLO US office closure - On Sept. 10, 2018,the US State Department announced the closure of the PLO US office, saying that there was no indication that the Palestinians had entered into meaningful negotiations with Israel. This was subsequent to the Trump administration announcing on Nov. 17, 2017, that the PLO has violated a 2015 Congressional mandate, which states that the PLO cannot operate an office in Washington if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against the Palestinians. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson determined that the Palestinians violated this mandate in September 2017, when PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called on the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute Israelis while speaking at the UN.

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