President Clinton signed an executive order in 1994 allowing the PLO, which had until then been designated a terrorist organization, to open offices and operate in the U.S. so long as it continued to abide by conditions laid out in the Oslo Accords. The Palestinian Authority has blatantly and consistently violated these conditions with impunity. Unlike all former secretaries of state, Rex Tillerson has taken action, sending a letter demanding that the PLO close its delegation in Washington. Caroline Glick comments:
The PLO’s campaign, [begun in 2010], to get recognized as a state breached both of its agreements with Israel and the terms under which the U.S. recognized it and permitted it to operate missions on U.S. soil.
The operation of the PLO’s missions in the U.S. was contingent on periodic certification by the secretary of state that the PLO was not engaged in terrorism, including incitement of terrorism, was not encouraging the boycott of Israel, and was not seeking to bypass its bilateral negotiations with Israel in order to achieve either diplomatic recognition or statehood. Under President Obama, the State Department refused to acknowledge the PLO’s breach of all of the conditions for U.S. recognition.
Angry at the administration’s facilitation of PLO breaches, in 2015 Congress mandated stricter and more precise conditions for continued operation of the PLO’s mission in Washington. Starting in 2016, the PLO was explicitly banned from advocating the prosecution of Israelis by the International Criminal Court (ICC). But in 2015 the PLO joined the ICC with the explicit purpose of advocating the prosecution of Israelis. And in conformance with this purpose, in his speech before the UN General Assembly in September 2017, the PLO and PA chief Mahmoud Abbas called for the ICC to prosecute Israelis for building communities in Judea and Samaria.
Given his experience with U.S. administrations since Clinton, Abbas had every reason to believe that he would suffer no repercussions for his statement. No U.S. administration had ever called the PLO/PA to account for its open breach of the terms of U.S. recognition. So it isn’t surprising that Abbas and his advisers were utterly shocked [by Tillerson’s letter].