The Latest: Turkey criticizes US over PLO mission closure

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Latest on reaction to closing of Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

Turkey has strongly criticized the United States for ordering the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement on Tuesday said the decision was “worrying,” described it as another indication that the United States had “lost its neutral position” in the Middle East peace process.

The statement said: “This decision will serve no purpose other than encourage efforts toward the destruction of a vision of a two-state solution.”

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday that the mission was being shut because the PLO, in his words, had not taken steps toward negotiations with Israel.

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12:30 p.m.

A top Palestinian official says the Palestinians have filed a war crimes claim against Israel at the International Criminal Court over its planned razing of a West Bank Bedouin hamlet.

Saeb Erekat says Israel should be held accountable for its plan on Khan al-Ahmar.

The Khan al-Ahmar encampment has focused attention on what critics say is the continued displacement of Palestinians by Israel. European countries urged Israel this week to refrain from demolition.

Israel says Khan al-Ahmar was illegally built and has offered to resettle residents 12 kilometers (7 miles) away. Critics say its removal is meant to make room for an Israeli settlement.

Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal last week, paving the way for demolition.

Palestinian activist Abdallah Abu Rahmeh said Tuesday that setting up the white shipping containers, one with a Palestinian flag, is a message to Israel that “it’s our right to build on our land.”

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11:25

Palestinian activists have set up five shipping containers near a Bedouin hamlet to protest the expected razing of the West Bank encampment by Israel.

The Khan al-Ahmar encampment has focused attention on what critics say is the continued displacement of Palestinians by Israel. European countries urged Israel this week to refrain from demolition.

Israel says Khan al-Ahmar was illegally built and has offered to resettle residents 12 kilometers (7 miles) away. Critics say its removal is meant to make room for an Israeli settlement.

Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal last week, paving the way for demolition.

Palestinian activist Abdallah Abu Rahmeh said Tuesday that setting up the white shipping containers, one with a Palestinian flag, is a message to Israel that “it’s our right to build on our land.”

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11:20 a.m.

The Palestinian envoy to Washington says his staffers have been given a month to pack up after the Trump administration ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization mission closed.

Husam Zomlot told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the closure would not deter Palestinians from seeking a state with east Jerusalem as the capital.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday that the mission was being shut because the PLO, in his words, had not taken steps toward negotiations with Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas halted ties with the Trump administration in December after the U.S. recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Zomlot was called home by Abbas in the spring as part of the crisis.

Zomlot says “we lost the U.S. administration but we gained our national rights.”

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