U.S. threatens to withhold aid cash to Palestinians

FILE PHOTO: A Palestinian man carries sacks of flour outside a United Nations food distribution center in Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City
FILE PHOTO: A Palestinian man carries sacks of flour outside a United Nations food distribution center in Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem/File Photo

January 3, 2018

By Rodrigo Campos

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said in tweets on Tuesday that the United States may withhold future aid payments to Palestinians, accusing them of being “no longer willing to talk peace” with Israel.

Trump said that Washington gives 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 … with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

The President’s tweets follow plans disclosed by his U.N. ambassador earlier on Tuesday to stop funding a United Nations agency that provides humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees.

“The President has basically said he doesn’t want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table,” Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters when asked about future U.S. funding for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.

The U.S. is the largest donor to the agency, with a pledge of nearly $370 million as of 2016, according to UNRWA’s website.

Relations between the Palestinians and Washington soured early last month after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, generating outrage across the Arab world and concern among Washington’s Western allies.

Weeks later, more than 120 countries defied Trump and voted in favor of a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its stance on Jerusalem’s status.

“What we saw with the resolution was not helpful to the situation,” Haley said on Tuesday.

“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 President Mahmoud Abbas has called the Trump administration’s decision on Jerusalem the “greatest crime” and a flagrant violation of international law, and said it was unacceptable for the United States to have a role in the Middle East peace process because it was biased in favor of Israel.

On Tuesday, the Israeli Parliament passed an amendment that would make it harder for it to cede control over parts of Jerusalem in any peace deal with the Palestinians.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by Eric Beech in Washington D.C., Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

  • Truthseeker

    Thank you both Larry and Scott, for arriving at a respectful agreement.
    All too often, comment-section back-and-forth escalates into nasty name calling.
    Your conduct reflects well on the whole OAN readership.
    Regarding the article, based on my limited knowledge of the situation I would say “Cut the Money”.
    It seems to me that, all too often, assistance given by the USA in good faith is corrupted and used to support the terrorists.

  • CCTexas

    President Trump, stop talking about it and just stop the payments. That is MY money you are sending to people who want to kill me.

  • Javanne

    Not only what Trump said, but the fact that they use the money to pay terrorists or their families is reason enough for Israel to refuse to treat with them at any level, and for the US to renounce them and all efforts to come to a peace agreement as they have made it clear that isn’t what they REALLY want.

  • kaiju

    They are God’s people too, but to support them is to support their terrorism. If the displaced Arab refugees cannot support themselves, let them find a new place to call home.

    • Spud51

      God created them, but they don’t follow His Words; and to support their actions in any way is wrong.!!!

      • ScottBytes

        Israel doesn’t follow His word either (New Testament)…..so no supporting them either, right?

        • Larry

          Sorry. God’s Word is in the Torah, the Old (and Enduring)Testament, not in the “new” one. Religious Jews (in Israel and around the world) do follow God’s Word.

          • ScottBytes

            Then your beliefs don’t match the Bible’s.

          • Larry

            They sure do. Not your bible’s, but my beliefs definitely match God’s word.

          • ScottBytes

            And I respect that – not all believe in the New Testament and that’s fine.

          • Larry

            Thank you. And I respect your beliefs, too.