US President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw aid payments to Palestinians after accusing them of showing “no appreciation” to the US.
The US president wrote on Twitter that “we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.”
He accused them of walking away from peace negotiations with Israel. He also referenced his highly controversial decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He said: “We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
It comes after Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, had earlier revealed plans to stop funding a UN agency that provides humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees.
“The President has basically said he doesn’t want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table,” she said.
Meanwhile Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s executive committee, said Palestine “will not be blackmailed.”
And Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said: “Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor for silver.”
Abu Rdainah said the Palestinians were still willing to conduct peace talks which collapsed in 2014. But they are only willing to talk under the condition of establishing their own state along lines which existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war.
“If the United States is keen about peace and about its interests it must abide by that,” he said.