Palestinian upgraded to ‘general delegation’ in Washington giving it quite a few new privileges.The US announced this week that it would upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation, actually a PLO office, to that of a ‘general delegation.’

This change in status finally raises the Palestinian Authority in Washington to a level it has had for some time throughout European countries.

‘General delegation’ is still a step lower than embassy, which it has in many African and Asian countries and in a sparse few European nations. Palestinian representatives at last enjoy the privileges of diplomatic immunity and are permitted to fly the Palestinian flag outside of its building.

While the Palestinian Authority has been working on upgrading its status since the beginning of the Obama administration it only recently received a surprise letter informing it of its change in importance.

This move is seen as a carrot to lure the Palestinians into direct talks with Israelis and the US also indicated that if they entered direct talks settlement construction would enter a freeze.

Abbas has stated that he would like to see more guarantees on the issues of settlement construction and borders before his government accepts any invitation to direct talks.