State Dept to keep PLO office in DC open despite UN stunt

posted at 2:01 pm on January 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Are there any consequences for defying the US at the UN for the Palestinian Authority, which recently relaunched itself as “the State of Palestine” after non-voting recognition by the UN General Assembly?  Apparently not, as the State Department and the Obama administration have quietly extended the PLO’s exception to an anti-terrorism law that allows them to keep their DC office open:

The State Department has decided to keep the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington open for another six months despite anti-terrorism legislation making it illegal, according to regulatory documents filed Tuesday.

Administrations of both parties have waived the provisions of the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act since President Clinton started doing so in 1994, citing U.S. national-security interests. The waiver is particularly controversial this time, however, because the PLO obtained the status of an observer state at the United Nations in November despite bitter opposition from the United States and Israel.

The interesting twist is that while the documents were filed yesterday to no fanfare at all from State, the declaratory statement was written well in advance of Mahmoud Abbas’ grandstanding event in November:

“I hereby determine and certify that the Palestinians have not, since the date of enactment of that Act, obtained in the U.N. or any specialized agency thereof the same standing as member states or full membership as a state outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians,” Deputy Secretary of State William Burns wrote in a State Department notice posted Tuesday. The notice is dated Oct. 8, before the U.N. vote.

That’s accurate … but only just.  Abbas is busy portraying the vote in the UN as authorization to call the PA a state, ordering some official documents to now read “State of Palestine”:

With U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state in his pocket, President Mahmoud Abbas wants official documents to carry a new emblem: “State of Palestine.”

But scrapping the old “Palestinian Authority” logo is as far as Abbas is willing to go in provoking Israel. He is not rushing to change passports and ID cards Palestinians need to pass through Israeli crossings.

The very modesty of Abbas’ move to change official stationery underscores his limited options so long as Israel remains in charge of territories the world says should one day make up that state.

Israel wants a two-state solution, for very practical reasons.  They don’t want to absorb the territories and have to give the inhabitants the vote, for one thing, and neither Jordan or Egypt will take back what they lost in 1967.  Abbas has finally gotten around to endorsing a two-state solution in Arabic (in September 2012), but without acknowledging the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state.  Hamas, in control of Gaza, won’t even go that far.  That’s the big reasons that the talks have been stuck for the entirety of Obama’s presidency, especially after Obama fumbled negotiations almost immediately by making an issue of construction to which Abbas hadn’t even objected formally.

So why keep the PLO’s office open?  Members of Congress petitioned to keep it closed, but perhaps State wants to use it to keep Abbas from going further:

Hassan Alawi, a deputy interior minister for the PA, said documents and stationery with the new emblem will be ready within two months. But he said all documents Palestinians need in their dealings with Israel, such as passports, ID cards and driver’s licenses, will only be changed if there is a further decision by Abbas.

Israeli officials declined to comment yesterday on whether Israel would refuse to deal with documents bearing the “State of Palestine” logo. Alawi said his office had been informed by Israeli officials after Abbas’ decree that “they will not deal with any new form of passport or ID.”

Saeb Erekat, a senior Abbas aide, said the new emblem will be used in correspondence with countries that have recognized a state of Palestine.

He suggested that there would be no change in passports or other documents Palestinians need for movement through Israeli crossings.

“As far as the Israelis are concerned, we are not going to overload the wagon of our people by putting State of Palestine on passports,” he said. “[The Israelis] will not allow them to travel.”

Palestinians must pass through Israeli-run crossings to leave the West Bank and also carry an ID card with them at all times or risk arrest if stopped without one at a military checkpoint inside the territory.

It’s not as if this leverage has produced any real positive results for the US in negotiations, but perhaps jettisoning it will produce further negative results.  Either way, Abbas and the PA ended up paying no price for defying the US at the UN, and that may end up producing negative results down the line, too.

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Well, Ed, why would you think there would be consequences for bad behavior? Wouldn’t that indicate a change-of-heart for the Jugeared Jac kass?

platypus on January 9, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Are there any consequences for defying the US at the UN in Benghazi … ?

Or in anything for that matter with Obama at the helm?

ShainS on January 9, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Did anyone seriously think they were going to close it?

Shy Guy on January 9, 2013 at 2:10 PM

I think we should declare all former Roman provinces to be sovereign states. It would solve a whole lot of issues, really.

TexasDan on January 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

One would not be one bit surprised by this? bho hates Israel, loves the plo and every other rop type devils spawn people/nation.

This is just one more slap in the face of Bibi and Israel, that is all it is! And now that bho was re-elected, you can expect more slaps in the face of Israel!

God be with you Israel.
L

letget on January 9, 2013 at 2:11 PM

OT : did you see the top drudge headline

Tingles and the rest of the lsm will be in a tizzy

Heh

cmsinaz on January 9, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Lol, gotta love Drudge…

Aizen on January 9, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I hope the Israelis have some Mossad agents in D.C. They could make “friends” with the PLO guys and then get embarrassing pictures of them in strip bars or such. The Israeli government couldn’t care less about such tactics from their spies but the camel jocks’ masters would be humiliated.

They might vacate voluntarily from the Great Satan.

platypus on January 9, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Ot- Ed,,,hope you’re going to put up something on biden/EO threat shortly

wolly4321 on January 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

cmsinaz on January 9, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Drudge did great showing those two pictures with bho’s possible eo on guns! Good job Drudge!
L

letget on January 9, 2013 at 2:27 PM

OT – the land goes to Stalin.

Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Barack Obama might use an executive order to deal with guns.

“The president is going to act,” said Biden, giving some comments to the press before a meeting with victims of gun violence. “There are executives orders, there’s executive action that can be taken. We haven’t decided what that is yet. But we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required.”

Biden said that this is a moral issue and that “it’s critically important that we act.”

Biden talked also about taking responsible action. “As the president said, if you’re actions result in only saving one life, they’re worth taking. But I’m convinced we can affect the well-being of millions of americans and take thousands of people out of harm’s way if we act responsibly.”

Biden, as he himself noted, helped write the Brady bill.

Eric Holder was scheduled to be at the meeting that’s currently take place at the White House.

Schadenfreude on January 9, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Agree letget
:)

Cries of racism in 5…4…3

cmsinaz on January 9, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Why does anyone sane assume that Obama doesn’t love his brothers and enables their aims?

Schadenfreude on January 9, 2013 at 2:36 PM

The State Department has decided to keep the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington open for another six months despite anti-terrorism legislation making it illegal, according to regulatory documents filed Tuesday.

Quiet assurances about flexibility after 1/20/13. In the meantime left going nuts over Drudge comparing the Obama gun grab to Hitler and Stalin.

Happy Nomad on January 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

In the meantime left going nuts over Drudge comparing the Obama gun grab to Hitler and Stalin.

Good, may their evil little heads explode! Drudge just showed/told the truth and the left can’t handle that! The never get the truth from bho/team/d’s/bhopress, EVER!
L

letget on January 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Waiting for the executive order thread……

Hot Air suggestion: would be nice to have a daily open thread here for breaking news.

can_con on January 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Hot Air suggestion: would be nice to have a daily open thread here for breaking news.

can_con on January 9, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Not very likely. Why would Ed, allah, etc., want to jeopardize their jobs by allowing competition? The Green Room didn’t last too long as a lower rung; ask yourself why.

Just kidding fellas – don’t hammer me. :)

platypus on January 9, 2013 at 2:54 PM

America has been in denial although the truth has been staring them in the face:

Obama is a Pro-Islamic. Muslim Extremist Supporter…

Also, despite how the media, this administration, & others tried to down-play, ignore, & dismiss the movie ’2016′, EVERYTHING about that movie has been proven TRUE. The foundational premise of this movie is that Obama, like his Father, is an ANTI-COLONIALIST who sees & believes nations like England & the United States grew to great power & prominence by stealing the natural resources & taking advantage of smaller / 3rd world nations. As the movie advocates, Obama, again like his father, wants to ‘attone for the United State’s ‘sins’ by reducing our nation’s status in the world as a ‘Super Power’ in every way, economically, socially, & militarilty…and he is effectively doing that, keeping his 2008 campaign promise which was to ‘FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE THE U.S.’!

There is no other way to look at the evidence objectively & come to any other conclussion…..and despite all that evidence, the ignoratn masses in this country re-elected him. If there is anything for me to take solace, even amusement in, it is the shock & anger from Obama supporters as they just realized that Obama’s Tax Bill adds $3.8 Trillion in new debt, increases government spending, raises the taxes on 77% of ALL Americans – to include the MIDDLE CLASS, says he wants to raise taxes by another $1 Trillion, rejects all spending cuts, admits he/Democrats are violating the law by not passing the budget but will not offer any compromise – even to pass a budget – in exchange for an increased debt ceiling.

WHAT MORE DOES THIS NARCISSISTIC, ANTI-COLONIALIST, COMMUNIST-MENTORED, RACIST HATE-SPEWING PASTOR-MENTORED, ISLAMIC EXTREMIST-SUPPORTING ‘domestic enemy’ HAVE TO DO BEFORE THE IGNORANT MASSES EMBRACE REALITY?

I highly encourage all those who have not done so to watch the movie 2016 – with open, objective eyes, keeeping in mind everything he has / is doing – and judge for yourself….not that it matters. The damage is done – he ihas been re-elected for 4 more years. Just today Biden made the statement that Obama is already planning to BY-PASS CONGRESS by ISSUING EXECUTIVE ORDERS to make anti-gun rights legislation/plans LAW! (How’s that ‘Fundamentally Changing the U.S.’ working out for ya?!)

easyt65 on January 9, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Either way, Abbas and the PA ended up paying no price for defying the US at the UN, and that may end up producing negative results down the line, too.

Israel paid no price for defying the US over settlement expansion and, if anything, the US has increased its military aid and cooperation with Israel since the settlement expansions.

What endangers the two state solution more Ed… Having and upgrade to the status of the Palestinian mission to the UN or expanding settlements in occupied territory in such a way to prevent any viable Palestinian state?

Netanyahu introduced the additional condition for talks unilaterally… if it were important to Israel it would have been included in Res. 242. The PA recognized Israel in Arabic long before September of last year. Arafat did this in 1993 and all three letters involving mutual recognition were translated and widely published in Arabic as well as 33 other languages.

lexhamfox on January 9, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Nothing will be done. This three branch government is now a one branch government with a single dictatorial head. Now, the question is, are there any serving politicians with the guts and intellect to do anything about it . . . I would suggest there are not.

rplat on January 9, 2013 at 4:29 PM

…unbelievable!

KOOLAID2 on January 9, 2013 at 9:18 PM