Palestinians outraged by Trump’s ‘blackmail’


Associated Press

JERUSALEM

Palestinian officials voiced outrage Wednesday over President Donald Trump’s threat to cut funding to the Palestinian Authority, calling his tweets “blackmail” in the aftermath of the U.S. administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office rebuffed the U.S. leader’s remarks, saying that “Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor silver.”

Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh said that “if the United States is keen on its interests in the Middle East, it must implement the international resolutions which call for a state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Trump expressed frustration Tuesday over the lack of progress in his attempts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and pointed his finger at the Palestinians.

“We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” he tweeted. “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

Trump upset the Palestinians last month by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing plans to move the U.S. Embassy to the holy city. The Palestinians, who claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital, accused Trump of siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the conflict and subsequently said the U.S. could no longer serve as a mediator.

International support for the Palestinians increased sharply after the creation of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, an autonomy government that was meant to last for five years as a prelude to a final peace deal. But negotiations have repeatedly sputtered.

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