Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Palestinians Fire Back at Trump's Threat to Cut Off Aid

Palestinians Fire Back at Trump's Threat to Cut Off Aid

Trump's apparent threat came Tuesday in a tweet, one in a succession in which he upbraided Pakistan for taking American aid and not doing enough to combat terrorism. "They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel", Trump tweeted.

"He doesn't want to give any additional funding until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table, and what we saw with the resolution was not helpful to the situation".

Since 2008, an average of 100 million dollars a year has been allocated to the security services of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

While Trump administration officials have said they expected a "cooling off period" with the Palestinians, Trump's tweets Tuesday signaled the President has grown frustrated with Palestinians' refusal to partake in a US-led peace process in the wake of his Jerusalem decision.

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the USA embassy were both among Trump's campaign promises, and change decades of USA policy in the Middle East.

Mr Trump's blunt comments represented a tougher tone toward the Palestinians than he has generally taken, suggesting that he is moving toward pressuring them to come to the table by threatening punishment rather than enticing them with promises of a deal that would benefit them.

His comments came hours after Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian National Council, said the Palestinians would not be "blackmailed" by United States threats.

"We all know that's complete nonsense", she said.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian leader, said Trump had "singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace" with his Jerusalem declaration, ABC News reports.

President Donald Trump appeared to threaten to cut off assistance to the Palestinians, saying they were not interested in making peace with Israel.

Most countries regard the status of Jerusalem as a matter to be settled in an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, although that process is now stalled. In 2016, the United States gave the agency over $368 million and financed more than 30 percent of its overall budget. Palestinians view Jerusalem as part of the capital of any future state.

Palestinian officials had said they would "no longer accept" any peace plan put forward by the United States following Trump's unilateral declaration on December 6, when he also announced that the USA would begin a process to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The U.S. now gives $300 million in funding to the agency.

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