Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Trump administration revoke visas of PLO envoy’s family

By Marc Henry - September 19, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [US foreign policy]

The family of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Ambassador Husum Zomlot have had their US visas revoked by the Trump administration. 

The move follows the Trump administrations closure of the PLO office in Washington last week.
According to Mr Zomlot, the announcement was made to two of his embassy employees last week during a meeting with State Department staff.
“The State Department informed our colleagues, as part of the discussion on the closure, that the visas of my wife and children are dependent on the PLO delegation and as such will not be valid after the closing of the office,” Zomlot said.
The visas of the official’s wife, as well as those of his two children, were cancelled even though they were valid until 2020.
The Trump Administration’s decision to revoke the visas of Zomlot’s family has been met with criticism by the PLO.
In a statement carried by Palestine’s official Wafa news agency, member of the PLO Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi slammed the decision.
“As if the announcement that the US would close our office in Washington DC was not enough, this vindictive action by the Trump administration is spiteful,” Ashrawi said.
According to Ashrawi the decision is against all diplomatic protocol and constituted an inhumane escalation on the part of the Trump administration to persist in its policy of pressure and extortion.
“By deliberately targeting the family of Ambassador Zomlot, the US administration has gone from cruel punishment to revenge against the Palestinians and their leadership – even to the point of causing hardship to their innocent children and families,” she continued.
The other staff members of the PLO office in Washington have been ordered to suspend all operations, close bank accounts and were informed that the rental contract for the building will not be renewed.
Furthermore, they were also warned to leave the country before October 13.
Despite the recent conflict, Zomlot still believes that ties with the Americans can be saved.
“We do not consider this moment to be permanent,” Zomlot said in an interview.
“We believe it’s going to be short-lived and we will do all we can, we will double our efforts to continue building bridges with the American people, and continue our outreach to the American people.”
Zomlot told i24NEWS that while the US government is taking actions that do not support the Palestinian cause, there is hope for support from the American people.
“The issue is not with the American people, our issue is not with the US, our issue is with the Trump administration.” 

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