In its latest move, the US State Department has deleted the name of the Palestinian Authority (PA) from the list of countries on its official website.
The move has drawn widespread criticism from Palestinian officials who are calling it a "desperate attempt to wipe out the Palestinian cause and people".
It’s not clear when the listing was removed and the State Department denies any change in policy. But the website now mentions Palestinians on its page for Israel, in the context of the Trump administration’s peace efforts.
During a press appearance in France, on Monday US President Donald Trump was questioned as to whether the removal of PA from the website was “conducive” to his peace efforts.
Trump referred reporters to the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying: “You can ask Mike Pompeo.”
In an official press statement, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesperson for the PA presidency, said the removal of Palestine or any word that is related or refers to the Palestinians from the list of countries is "an unprecedented descent in American foreign policy", Xinhua news agency reported.
He further said that: "This step again shows the US government is not only biased toward the Israeli occupation, but is fully aligned with the plans of the extremist Israeli right-wing."
Rudaineh sent a stern warning to the US, stating: “There will be no peace, security, and stability in the region without the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the June 4 1967 borders.”
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also slammed the move saying the decision was “not related to American national interests but aimed to support the schemes of the Israeli Council of Settlements”.
In a press statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry lashed out at the US, saying: "The current US government implements the Israeli vision of destroying the two-state solution and escaping from its requirements."
The PA severed its political ties with the White House in December 2017, following Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and subsequently moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018 along with cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians and the UN agency (UNRWA) that supports millions of Palestinian refugees.