Palestine Affairs Center

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"The sign on Anees Barghouti's office door in Washington, DC reads "League of Arab States, Palestine Affairs Center." As director of that office since June 1992, Barghouti, a Palestinian American, is the equivalent of the ambassador of Palestine to the United States. His country is not officially recognized by the United States, but he personally is accorded ambassadorial status by the majority of foreign ambassadors in Washington.

"The Palestine Affairs Center, in an earlier incarnation as the Palestine Information Office (PIO) in Washington, was closed in 1988 by the Department of State. The instigator of the election-year closure order, acceded to by the outgoing Reagan administration, was the hyperactive American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which lobbies for Israel in Washington, DC. AIPAC's tactic was to raise the threat of a shift away from the Republican ticket of Jewish donors and voters who had supported Ronald Reagan in order to induce the administration to close both the PIO office in Washington and the Palestine Observer Mission at the United Nations in New York.

"The latter, however, had been accorded official observer status by formal United Nations action. The campaign to close the Observer Mission, which was the defacto representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization at the U.N., failed when an American court ruled that the treaty between the United States and the United Nations establishing the U.N. on American soil precluded the U.S. from closing the mission." [1]

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