President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to the Palestinians if they do not resume negotiations on the peace process.
The president took to Twitter on Tuesday, criticizing the Palestinian Authority (PA) for their lack of “appreciation or respect” for the United States for their close to $307 million in aid to the Palestinians annually.
“We pay the Palestinian hundreds of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t event want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel. 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?”
The PA responded Wednesday. Senior official Hanan Ashrawi accused President Trump of sabotaging the “search for peace,” and stating, “We will not be blackmailed. President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!”
Early this week, the PA announced it was recalling its envoy to the U.S., as PA President Mahmoud Abbas continues to denounce U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as well as remind the media that it has been “disqualified” as mediator in the peace process.
Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, addressed Trump’s remarks made Tuesday during a press conference at the U.N. in New York on Tuesday night. When asked about President Trump’s remarks, Haley reiterated: “I think 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 negotiating table. And what we saw with the resolution was not helpful to the situation. We’re trying to move for a peace process, but if that doesn’t happen, the president’s not going to continue to fund that situation.”
When a reporter from the Arabic Daily asked Haley what makes her believe she’s on the “right side of history when you stood alone at the Assembly Council?” Haley said, “I stood proudly, even if I was the only hand in the Security Council to fight for the will of the people of the United States. They wanted to see the embassy moved to Jerusalem and we follow through with that. We very much still want to have a peace process- nothing changes with that.”
She added: “The Palestinians now have to show they want to come to the table. As of now, they are not coming to the table, but they ask for aid. We are going to make sure they are coming to the table and we want to move forward with the peace process.”
Media reports claim the U.S. is likely to cut aid to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The U.S. gave $368,429,712 in 2016. The UNRWA reported on Wednesday morning that it has not received any “information from the U.S. administration about any changes to U.S. contributions to UNRWA.”
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.