Trump threatens to cut off USA aid to Palestinians

Trump threatens to cut off USA aid to Palestinians

Donald Trump has provoked fury by threatening to withhold aid payments to the Palestinian Authority over stalled Israeli peace talks.

Hours after Israel passed its law on Jerusalem, Trump affirmed the U.S. belief that the Palestinians are the major roadblock in peace negotiations, tweeting: "We pay the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect".

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

It was not immediately clear whether Trump was threatening all of the budget, worth $319 million in 2016, according to United States government figures.

"We will not be blackmailed", said Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi, Reuters reported. 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. "They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel".

Efforts to harness improved Arab-Israel relations to push a peace deal have been at least temporarily derailed by Trump's Jerusalem recognition, breaking with decades of United States policy.

"Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!" she said in a statement.

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

Israeli lawmakers passed a bill early on Tuesday morning which limits the ability of its government to divide Jerusalem, which is a central Palestinian demand for a two-state agreement.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday the United States will stop contributing to a U.N. agency that gives humanitarian aid to Palestinians. "We're trying to move for a peace process but if that doesn't happen the president is not going to continue to fund that situation".

The new law states that parts of Jerusalem can only be relinquished in a future peace deal if a supermajority of the Knesset, Israel's legislature, approves of the decision.

Abbas's spokesman said they were not against negotiations, but that talks should be "based on worldwide laws and resolutions that have recognised an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital".

On Sunday, the PA said it was recalling its envoy to the United States for consultations, in protest of USA actions.

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