Trump Threatens to Stop Aid to Palestinians
Albanian Daily News
Published January 25, 2018
US President Donald Trump has threatened to halt aid to the Palestinians if they do not agree to take part in peace talks.
The state department confirmed he was talking about aid for economic and security assistance.
Mr Trump accused the Palestinians of disrespecting the US, and said "why should we do something for them when they do nothing for us?"
The Palestinians have rejected the US as a neutral broker in peace talks.
President Mahmoud Abbas has described Mr Trump's decision in December to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital as the "slap of the century".
Why the focus on Palestinian aid?
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Trump said the US gives the Palestinians "hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support" a year.
He was angry at the Palestinian leadership for "disrespecting... our great Vice-President" Mike Pence by refusing to meet with him in the region a week ago.
And he said he was the first US president to link the issue of aid funding to the peace process.
"That money is on the table and its not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace," he said, sitting beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace and they're [the Palestinians] going to have to want to make peace too or we're going to have nothing to do with it any longer."
The US announced earlier this month that it was withholding more than half of a tranche of funding for the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees, amounting to about $65m (£46m).
But the US state department later confirmed this was not the aid Mr Trump was referring too. He was instead talking about bilateral funding for economic support and some security training.
US bilateral aid to the Palestinians amounted to $260m in 2016. By contrast, Israel receives more than $3bn in military aid per year from the US.