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Palestinians outraged by Trump’s ‘blackmail’ to cut funding

President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to threaten to cut off US aid money to the Palestinian Authority, asking why the US should make “any of these massive future payments” when the Palestinians are “no longer willing to talk peace”.

world Updated: Jan 03, 2018 18:32 IST
The Associated Press, Jerusalem
Donald Trump infuriated Palestinians and Muslims across the Middle East when he announced late last year that the US would consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move its embassy there, upending decades of US policy and igniting protests.(AFP Photo)

A senior Palestinian leader has expressed outrage at President Donald Trump’s threat to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority, calling his tweets “blackmail.”

Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement on Wednesday that Trump “single-handedly destroyed the very foundations of peace” by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month. She says the Palestinians “will not be blackmailed”.

She also says, “Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice.”

The United States has given the Palestinians over $5 billion in economic and security aid since the mid-1990s, according to Congressional research figures, with an average of $100 million annually since 2008 for President Mahmoud Abbas’s security services.

Trump, in a pair of tweets, said the US pays “the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.”

“They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue ... peace treaty with Israel,” he wrote.

Cutting the funding could prove disastrous for Israel, which relies on security cooperation with the PA to maintain calm in the West Bank.

First Published: Jan 03, 2018 13:15 IST