Trump threatens to cut off United States aid to Palestinians


After Trump announced last month that he was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and planned to move the USA embassy there, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that the ceremony "represents a declaration that the United States has withdrawn from playing the role it has played in the past decades in sponsoring the peace process".

The Guardian calls Trump's posturing "dangerous", and says it demonstrates "a lack of understanding of the delicate mechanics that help maintain relative peace between Israelis and Palestinians".

The poll also revealed that a smaller majority, 59 percent, of Jewish Israelis believes that Trump understands Israel's real interests (versus 37 percent who thinks he does not).

Only 6 percent of Palestinian citizens thought similarly.

In a classic Trump move, the US President took to Twitter to say: "the Palestinians HUNDRED [sic] OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement that "we will not be blackmailed".

"We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table".

The Palestinians rely heavily on worldwide aid, with many analysts, including Israelis, saying such assistance helps maintain stability in a volatile region. "By recognizing Occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital Donald Trump has not only violated global law, but he has also singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace and condoned Israel's illegal annexation of the city".

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The US has made clear that unless the Palestinian Authority is willing to negotiate, US aid will be cut to the UNRWA, the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to reporters at United Nations headquarters, January 2, 2018 in New York City.

"The president has basically said that he doesn't want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians are agreeing to come back to the negotiation table".

In 2016, the United States Agency for International Development, a division of the State Department, dispensed more than $290 million in funding for humanitarian projects in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank.

"We still very much want to have a peace process, nothing changes that", she said.

Trump tasked son-in-law Jared Kushner with restarting the effort, and brought his former attorney, Jason Greenblatt, into the White House to lead the negotiations. It later said the ambassador would return.

He has heaped pressure on Palestinians to do a deal, threatening to close the de facto "embassy" in Washington in addition to recognising Israel's contested claim on Jerusalem and now threatening aid.