WASHINGTON - Just over half of the US House of Representatives called on President Obama to shut down the PLO office in Washington as punishment for its ascension in UN status.

"One important way of expressing US disapproval would be to send the message that such actions are not cost-free and that, at a minimum, they result in setbacks to US-Palestinian relations," said the letter sent Dec. 21, signed by 239 members, including leaders such as Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader, and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip.

"We can do this by closing the PLO office in Washington, D.C.  We can also call our Consul-General in Jerusalem home for consultations," the letter said.

The Palestine Liberation Organization had its status elevated last month to non-member observer state, which could facilitate efforts to charge Israel with war crimes in the international court system.

The letter also calls for defunding of UN-affiliated organizations that similarly enhance PLO membership.

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