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Palestinians 'Will Not Be Blackmailed' by Trump


FILE - President Donald Trump speaks with reporters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Dec. 22, 2017.

A senior Palestinian official said Wednesday the Palestinians "will not be blackmailed" by U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to cut aid funding.

Trump wrote on Twitter that the U.S. sends hundreds of millions of dollars each year and gets "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?" Trump said in a series of tweets.

Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi responded with a statement 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!" Ashrawi said.

Trump earlier broke with longstanding U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and setting in motion the processes of moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was sharply critical of that move, saying it amounted to the U.S. abandoning the role it had played in the peace process. The U.N. General Assembly also overwhelmingly rejected Trump's declaration.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Dec. 13, 2017.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Dec. 13, 2017.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Tuesday the United States will stop contributing to a U.N. agency that gives humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

"We still very much want to have a peace process, nothing changes that," she 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 they come to the table."

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. The United Nations has long considered Jerusalem's status as a negotiating point in a two-state solution.

Under the previous U.S. administration, Secretary of State John Kerry made the peace process a major focus of his agenda, but his shuttle diplomacy ended more than three years ago with no agreement.

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