Press TV – The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has voiced anger at a threat by US President Donald Trump to cut off aid to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, saying the nation “will not be blackmailed.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, condemned Trump’s decision last month to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.
“By recognizing Occupied Jerusalem [al-Quds] as Israel’s capital, Donald Trump has not only violated international law, but he has also singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace and condoned Israel’s illegal annexation of the city,” she said. “We will not be blackmailed.”
Trump’s policy shift on Jerusalem al-Quds led Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to formally declare that Palestinians would no longer accept the US as a mediator to help resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Washington is “completely biased” towards Tel Aviv.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Trump said that the US pays “the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year” and yet gets “no appreciation or respect.”
“But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” he asked.
Ashrawi further stressed that “Palestinian rights are not for sale.”
The US president “sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!” the PLO official added.
Trump’s tweets came hours after US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the Trump administration was considering clamping down on funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides aid to millions of Palestinian refugees.
“He doesn’t want to give any additional funding until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table, and what we saw with the resolution was not helpful to the situation,” she said.
Official reports said the US was the largest donor to the agency, with a pledge of nearly 370 million dollars as of 2016.