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Palestinians weigh pushback over US penalties
September 13, 2018
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RAMALLAH: The Palestinian leadership is weighing retaliatory measures against US penalties, including halting security cooperation, a senior Palestinian official said on Wednesday.

“It’s among possible steps we are thinking about,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s (PLO) executive committee, told journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

“We are thinking of many things that can be done,” she added.

Ashrawi was responding to a question about the possibility of a complete break with Washington, including security ties.

“This American administration has adopted wholesale all the positions of the most extreme, rightwing, hardline, racist Israeli government in the history of Israel,” Ashrawi said.

She said that the Palestinian leadership would discuss possible responses after Abbas attends the UN General Assembly meeting in New York later this month.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday welcomed the US decision to shut the Palestinian mission in Washington.

“The US made the correct decision when it decided to close the PLO offices in Washington,” he told members of his cabinet.

“The (Palestinians’) refusal to enter into negotiations with Israel and the unbridled attacks against Israel will not only not advance peace but will certainly not make things better for the Palestinians,” he said.

An opinion poll shows that over 60 per cent of Palestinians oppose resuming dialogue with the Trump administration after the US cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

Wednesday’s poll found 90 per cent of respondents believe the US is biased in favor of Israel. Sixty percent oppose resuming dialogue.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll questioned 1,270 people and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The United States has given the Palestinian Authority security forces some $61 million in aid this year, according to the US embassy for Israel.

US-based news site Axios reported that a Palestinian security and intelligence delegation was in Washington earlier this month for talks with the CIA.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cut off diplomatic talks with the US administration after President Donald Trump recognised the disputed city of occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.


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