Trump threatens to freeze aid to Palestinians

Getty Images Jerusalem is claimed by both Israel and Palestine

Getty Images Jerusalem is claimed by both Israel and Palestine

Trump said in tweets on Tuesday that the USA may withhold future aid payments to Palestinians, accusing them of being "no longer willing to talk peace" with Israel.

But the USA ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said earlier Tuesday that Trump planned to withhold money for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the entity tasked with aiding Palestinian refugees, if their leaders did not fully engage in the us -led peace process with Israel.

Trump last month recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite warnings from the Arab leaders, reversing decades of U.S. and worldwide policy on the holy city.

"We are not against going back to negotiations, but [these should be] based on worldwide laws and resolutions that have recognized an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital", Abu Rudeina said.

"Palestinians need American money, but if they use it as a way of pressuring us, we are ready to relinquish that aid", a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas said at the time.

Palestinians have said upon the announcement that Washington can no longer serve as a peace broker.

She said the Trump administration's call to cut aid to UNRWA was "correct and important". Palestinians want the Capital of an independent Palestinian state to be East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and annexed. As of now, they're not coming to the table but they asked for aid.

On the other hand, Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi was quoted as saying, "we will not be blackmailed". "The Palestinians now have to show the world they want to come to the table", Haley said.

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In an emailed statement, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said "UNRWA has not been informed by the United States administration of any changes in US funding to the Agency".

He also plans to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted his support for Trump's latest warning to the Palestinians, hoping the president's message will give his relevant bill some renewed hope.

"Without this, the United States will push the region to the abyss", Mr Abu Rdeneh added. While Israel sees Jerusalem as its undivided capital, Palestinians also claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

The comments, which came in a pair of characteristically inflammatory tweets, appeared to acknowledge that any prospects of reviving the dormant "peace process" have been diminished by his controversial move in December unilaterally to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "We're trying to move for a peace process, but if that doesn't happen, the president's not going to continue to fund that situation". The US gives Israel annual military aid of $3.1bn.

"We still very much want to have a peace process".

Based on figures for 2016, the the biggest donor to UNRWA.

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