Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Trump threatens aid to Palestinian refugees in latest controversial tweet

Trump threatens aid to Palestinian refugees in latest controversial tweet

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.

Trump's actions are likely to cast that further in doubt.

"We are dealing with a president who says what he thinks clearly and does not resort to diplomatic convolutions that mean nothing", she told Israel's Army Radio. The Palestinians announced shortly after that the United States will no longer play a role in mediating an agreement with Israel.

The move is just the latest blow to the potential for a two-state solution to the decades-long battle between the Israelis and Palestinians, who claim the right to make East Jerusalem the captial of their future state.

"We are not against going back to negotiations, but (these should be) based on worldwide laws and resolutions that have recognized an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital", Abu Rudeineh said.

"President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice".

The move follows Trump's controversial decision in December to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, provoking unrest and triggering clashes in the Gaza Strip.

Donald Trump has threatened to cut Palestinian aid, in an escalation to the conflict between leaders.

"Haley responded to a question regarding whether the United States would continue to fund the agency in light of the Palestinians' threat to "unleash all the weapons we have in the UN", by saying, "[President Trump] doesn't want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table, and what we saw with the [UN Jerusalem] resolution was not helpful to the situation".

"As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

'Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!'

Even some Israelis who are generally critical of the Palestinians, and would eventually like to see the UN Relief and Works Agency disappear, expressed reservations about any sudden cut in donations.

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"Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor for silver", Nabil Abu Rudainah said on Wednesday.

The United States is the largest donor to the agency, with a pledge of almost $370m as of 2016, according to UNRWA's website.

Abbas showed his true attitude about peace with Israel long ago.

Earlier on Tuesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley threatened to cut off funding to the UN's Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, if the Palestinians refused to engage in peace negotiations.

"We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the worldwide community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the USA administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace".

Other events in Washington in recent months have been created to put the squeeze on the Palestinians and make them return to the negotiating table.

The US was the biggest donor to UNRWA in 2016, giving $368,429,712.

The Trump administration had anticipated an outburst of Palestinian anger over its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but it had also expected the Palestinians to resume work on the peace process after what USA officials called a "cooling off" period.

Trump's top negotiators in the peace process are his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

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

Trump's recent decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital has emboldened Israel's leadership to take dramatic measures to safeguard their claims to land in Jerusalem.

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