US President Donald Trump, whose controversial decision last month to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital prompted global condemnation and widespread protests, has threatened to cut off aid to Palestinians.
Trump said in a pair of Twitter posts on Tuesday that “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”.
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He added that, “with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
…peace treaty with Israel. 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?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) currently stands at about $300m a year. The US gives Israel annual military aid of $3.1bn. Next year, that figure will increase to $3.8bn under a 10-year deal agreed by Barack Obama shortly before he stepped down as US president.
Earlier this week, the PA said it was recalling its envoy to the United States following Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The move came after Palestinian officials had said they would “no longer accept” any peace plan put forward by Washington following Trump’s unilateral declaration on December 6, when he also announced that the US would begin a process to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
No country currently has its embassy in the city, which is home to holy religious sites and has particular significance for Muslims, Christians and Jews.
Trump’s announcement sparked deadly protests in the occupied Palestinian territories and major rallies in support of the Palestinians across the Muslim world.
Trump has previously said he wants to relaunch frozen peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in search of the “ultimate deal”.
Jerusalem’s status is an extremely sensitive aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel claims the city as its capital, following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, and considers Jerusalem to be a “united” city.
Palestinian leaders have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. They fiercely oppose any changes that could be regarded as legitimising Israel’s occupation and annexation of the city’s eastern sector.
There was no immediate reaction from Palestinian officials to Trump’s tweets on Tuesday.