Palestinians condemn Trump's aid 'blackmail'

Palestinians condemn Trump's aid 'blackmail'

"With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace", he added, "why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

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

"We're not giving the aid, we're going to make sure they come to the table and we want to move forward with the peace process". The Palestinians announced shortly after that the United States will no longer play a role in mediating an agreement with Israel.

Following the United States president's declaration on Jerusalem, Abbas said the United States had relinquished its traditional role as the mediator of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has previously stated Palestine would only agree to peace if Israel agreed to a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital for a future Palestinian state.

'President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice, ' she said.

Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP news agency: "We are not against going back to negotiations, but [these should be] based on worldwide laws and resolutions that have recognised an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital".

The legislative move came as Trump threatened to take away hundreds of millions of dollars of aid payments to the Palestinians, on the grounds that they "are no longer willing to talk peace".

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

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. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible action!"

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Some Israeli officials welcomed Trump's aid cut plan, saying it put due pressure on the Palestinians.

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.

"Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions", Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told AFP.

In December, Ms Haley sent a "Save the Date" invitation to the 64 countries who did not lend their backing to the resolution to thank them for their "friendship to the United States".

Today, Israelis maintain that "Jerusalem, complete and united", is the capital of Israel, and even the most ardent supporters of the peace process reject a divided Jerusalem: public opinion polls show that 80 percent of Israelis object to a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.

Ms Haley issued a stern warning the U.S. would be "taking names" of any countries who supported the resolution condemning the actions of the Trump administration.

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. It is also the largest overall supplier of financial support for the Palestinians.

Trump was unclear about what funding he would cut and said that his administration had "taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table".

A spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas insisted Jerusalem was "not for sale" - a reference to Mr Trump's recognition of the city as the capital of Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization announced that it will reconvene one of its top entities, the PLO Central Council, on January 14 to address the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations and other matters, the publication cited.

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