Palestinian Ambassador to the United States Husam Zomlot said that he had been expelled from the country and that the bank accounts of his family had been frozen, days after the State Department ordered the closure of the PLO embassy in Washington.
“Ambassador Zomlot’s son Said, 7, who is in second grade, and daughter Alma, 5, who is in kindergarten were pulled out of Horace Mann Elementary School in Washington DC last week and have since left the country,” the PLO said in a statement.
All American bank accounts affiliated with the PLO have also been frozen as part of a ploy to pressure the Palestinians to begin peace negotiations with Israel, the Israeli news site Ynet reported, citing Al Jazeera.
“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,” PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashwari said in a statement.
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has frozen nearly all foreign funding for Palestinians, including support for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network and the United Nations’s Palestinian refugee agency.
Trump said during the president’s traditional pre-Rosh Hashanah phone call with Jewish leaders that funding to the Palestinians would cease until a peace agreement was reached. “You’ll get money, but we’re not paying you until we make a deal. If we don’t make a deal, we’re not paying,” Trump said.
Palestinian leaders have boycotted meeting with Trump administration officials ever since the president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December.