‘Jerusalem not for sale’

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

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Nabil Abu Rudeina

Ramallah — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office said Wednesday Jerusalem is “not for sale” after US President Donald Trump threatened to cut annual aid of more than $300 million to force them to the negotiating table.

“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions,” Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP, referring to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“We are not against going back to negotiations, but (these should be) based on international laws and resolutions that have recognized an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Abu Rudeina said.

Trump made the funding threat in a tweet on Tuesday, saying: “We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.”

“With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said the Palestinians “will not be blackmailed” by the president, adding that Trump “singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace” by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.

“Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice,” she said Wednesday.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley presaged Trump’s threat on Tuesday, saying the president doesn’t want to give more funds “until the Palestinians are willing to come back to the negotiation table.”

“We still very much want to have a peace process. Nothing changes with that.

The Palestinians now have to show they want to come to the table,” Haley said. “As of now, they’re not coming to the table, but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid. We’re going to make sure that they come to the table.”

In addition to its support for the Palestinian Authority, the US is also the largest donor to the UNRWA, the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees. — Agencies


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