Trump Vows to Withhold Aid to Palestine

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he will most likely cut off aid to Palestine if the country’s leaders do not agree to continue peace negotiations with Israel.

Trump also seemed to contradict his previous claim that the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel wouldn’t affect its final status in the negotiations, as it had been taken “off the table.”

“We pay 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,” the president tweeted.

“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?” he continued.

Although Trump administration officials have said a “cooling off period” was expected with the Palestinians, who are enraged by Trump’s recent announcement, the president’s Tuesday tweets indicate he is frustrated with Palestinians’ refusing to take part in the U.S.-led peace negotiations. Trump’s tweets also follow the White House’s confirmation that the U.S. will withhold aid to Palestine as a means to pressure it into better counterterrorism cooperation with the US, CNN says.

According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, in 2016 the United States spent over $600 million on aid to Palestinian territories. The aid includes humanitarian assistance, infrastructure development assistance, and private sector debt payments.

However, the president’s statement also seems to annul his previous promise not to take a position on the final decision regarding “the boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”

“Those questions are up to the parties involved. The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides,” Trump said last month.

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