Trump threatens to cut US aid to Palestinians
‘Dangerous’ move could be more damaging than Jerusalem controversy
Donald Trump has provoked fury by threatening to withhold aid payments to the Palestinian Authority over stalled Israeli peace talks.
“We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect," the US president tweeted.
He continued: “With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
The US gave $357m to the Palestinian Authority in 2016, according to The Times of Israel.
As one of the authority’s largest doners, Trump could inflict “great pain” on the Palestinians, says The Washington Post. But cutting off aid could also affect Israel, which relies on the Palestinian Authority to help maintain calm in the volatile region, the newspaper adds.
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 office of Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas rejected what the Palestinians called Trump’s “blackmail” attempt, saying “Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor silver”.
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.
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian leader, said Trump had “singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace” with his Jerusalem declaration, ABC News reports.