Ramallah: “Palestinian rights are not for sale” was the response the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had on Wednesday for US President Donald Trump’s threat to cut financial aid to the Palestinians if they do not resume negotiation with Israel.
“[W]e 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. 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?”, said Trump in a tweet.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi described Trump’s tweet as blackmail.
“We will not be blackmailed,” she said. “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.”
Ashrawi added: “By recognizing Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Donald Trump has not only violated international law, but he has also singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace and condoned Israel’s illegal annexation of the city.”
Earlier to Trump’s tweet, his UN ambassador Nikky Haley also made a similar threat when asked about the future of US aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
“The Palestinians now have to show to the world that they want to come to the table. As of now, they’re not coming to the table but they asked for aid. We’re not giving the aid, we’re going to make sure that they come to the table and we want to move forward with the peace process,” she said.
Palestinian-US relations have soured after Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.