Palestinians blast Trump’s threat to withhold aid

Palestinians blast Trump’s threat to withhold aid
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Palestinian officials on Wednesday slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE’s suggestion that the United States will withhold aid to them.

“We will not be blackmailed,” said Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi, Reuters reported.

A spokesperson for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, reportedly said “Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor for silver.”

Trump on Tuesday publicly questioned why the United States should provide the Palestinians with aid payments when they are “no longer willing to talk peace” with Israel. 

"It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we 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," Trump said on Twitter.

"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?" 

The president's threat comes nearly one month after Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said he would begin plans to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the city. But he also signed a six-month waiver delaying that move.

His threat over aid also followed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyBidens pose with Bradley Cooper at Super Bowl Nikki Haley praises Justin Timberlake for 'awesome' Super Bowl performance Syria rejects US accusations of chemical weapons use MORE’s statement to reporters that the administration could cut off funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides aid to Palestinian refugees.