Palestinian Offices in the United States: Microcosms of the Palestinian Experience
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The September 2018 decision by the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump to close the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington and expel the PLO ambassador and his family was the latest chapter in the long and difficult history of Palestinian efforts to maintain information and diplomatic offices in the United States. From the opening of the first Arab information office in the United States in 1945, to the establishment of the first specifically Palestinian information center in 1955, to the creation of the first PLO office in 1965, the Palestinians’ twin goals of representing their people and providing information about their cause on the soil of Israel’s greatest ally has been hindered by challenges and threats from a variety of sources. Indeed, the long saga of trying to maintain an official presence in the United States is a microcosm of the wider Palestinian national drama of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, replete with Zionist attacks, debilitating inter-Arab and intra-Palestinian rivalries, political ineptitude, the struggle to achieve diplomatic legitimacy, and hostility from the U.S. government and its pro-Zionist politicians.