The United States revoked visas for the family of the Palestine Liberation Organization ambassador, the envoy said on Sunday, the latest development in the worsening relations between the Trump administration and Palestinian leadership.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): The United States revoked visas for the family of the Palestine Liberation Organization ambassador, the envoy said on Sunday, the latest development in the worsening relations between the Trump administration and Palestinian leadership.
Ambassador Husam Zomlot, head of the PLO General Delegation to the United States, said his family, including his two young children, left the United States after being informed their visas would now expire when the diplomatic office is closed next month. The visas were originally set to expire in 2020.
The Trump administration said last Monday the office in Washington would close. The State Department did not respond to a request for comment.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, criticized the Trump administration for being “vindictive.”
“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 in a statement. “The US has taken its attempts to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians to a new level.”
Zomlot said in an interview that two of his embassy employees met last week with State Department staff, who had requested the meeting.
“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 closure of the office and that if they wanted to stay they would have to change their immigration status,” Zomlot said.
He added: “This goes against diplomatic norms. Children, spouses and family have nothing to do with political rows.”
Last month, the United States halted all funding to a U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees.