The Obama administration will allow the PLO office in Washington to fly the Palestinian flag and assume the title of "delegation."But Israel lobbyists shouldn't worry:
The change in status comes with no enhancement in diplomatic status, U.S. officials said.
The new privileges for the Palestine Liberation Organization office do not mean the representation has "any diplomatic privileges or immunities," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said last Friday.
"At the request of the PLO representative, which we have granted given the improvement in the relations between the United States and Palestinians, they have requested permission to fly the Palestinian flag," he said. "And they have requested permission to call themselves the General Delegation of the PLO, which is a name that conforms to how they describe their missions in Europe, Canada, and several Latin American countries."
Crowley said the steps have symbolic value and reflect improved relations between the United States and Palestinians, but they have no meaning under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.It's only a flag after all.
So no diplomatic status for the PLO but still not all of Israel's representatives are happy:
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the ranking member on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, tied her efforts to eject the PLO from Washington to congressional efforts to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, another law that presidents have routinely waived since its passage in 1995.No Palestine flag, no Palestine representation, no Palestine at all. The whole shebang is Israel according to Rep.Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla).
"Instead of giving more undeserved gifts to the PLO, it’s time for us to kick the PLO out of the U.S. once and for all and move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, where it belongs," she said in a statement.