Following the decision to end UNRWA funding and cutting aid to hospitals in East Jerusalem, the Trump administration is set to add further insult to injury by shutting down the PLO’s Washington office:
The Trump administration is expected to announce Monday that it will close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington, administration officials said Sunday night, widening a U.S. campaign of pressure amid stalled Middle East peace efforts.
“The United States will always stand with our friend and ally, Israel,” national security adviser John Bolton planned to say in a speech he is scheduled to deliver Monday, according a draft of his prepared remarks reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
“The Trump administration will not keep the office open when the Palestinians refuse to take steps to start direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel,” he is planned to add.
The Trump administration is inflicting more collective punishment on Palestinian civilians in a vain effort to force their leaders to accept humiliating terms. These efforts are so heavy-handed and one-sided that they are sure to produce nothing but resistance and hostility. Trump and his allies are under the mistaken impression that a people that has already experienced war, displacement, and poverty can somehow be made to abandon their aspirations through further deprivation and punishment. Cutting off aid to these hospitals is a particularly nasty tactic that won’t work, but wouldn’t be defensible in any case:
I gather the “logic” of the US cutting off aid to E Jerusalem hospitals is that it’ll add pressure on the Palestinians to come to talks. “See, if you don’t negotiate, the price only goes up.” That will fail. And cutting off hospitals with no new $ lined up is indefensibly cruel.
— Dan Shapiro (@DanielBShapiro) September 8, 2018
The policy won’t succeed, but the more important point is that it is a despicable and cruel policy that will cause further hardship for no good reason. The administration’s actions amount to kicking vulnerable people while they are down on behalf of the government that keeps them stateless and under occupation. No U.S. interests are served by any of this. All that the U.S. will achieve by doing this is to cause more unnecessary loss of life among Palestinians and prove that the U.S. cannot be trusted to honor its commitments.