A senior Palestinian official has responded with defiance to Donald Trump’s threat via Twitter to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Hanan Ashrawi’s rebuke followed the US president’s tweet admitting that the Middle East peace process was in difficulty and warning Palestinians that they could lose US aid worth more than $300m a year.
“We will not be blackmailed,” Ashrawi said in a statement on Wednesday.
“President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!”
In his tweet on Tuesday, Trump said: “We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.
…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
“With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
US aid to the Palestinian Authority stood at about $319 million in 2016, according to US government figures.
Palestinian officials had said they would “no longer accept” any peace plan put forward by the US 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 touched off 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.