No hope of peace without Jerusalem recognition

No hope of peace without Jerusalem recognition

Palestinian leaders say they will not be "blackmailed" after Donald Trump threatened to cut aid worth more than $300million annually.

As the largest donor to the relief agency, the United States provided more than $355 million in support for its 2016 operations, including $95 million for a West Bank and Gaza emergency appeal.

'Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions, ' Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.

Palestinian anger at Mr Trump is already high over his recognition on 6 December of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a declaration that also generated outrage across the Arab world and concern among the US's Western allies.

Acknowledging his push to broker peace in the Middle East had stalled, Trump on Tuesday threatened to cut off all aid to the PA, asking why Washington should make "any of these massive future payments" when the Palestinians were "no longer willing to talk peace".

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee, said in response: "We will not be blackmailed".

Michael Herzog, an Israel-based fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has participated in most of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, said that many Israelis supported some cuts in external funding to the Palestinian Authority, given that part of its budget goes to supporting the families of Palestinians who carried out terrorist attacks against Israelis.

He said: "We will continue our efforts in the United Nations and at all global forums to put an end to this occupation, and to establish our Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital". In both of these scenarios, once the status of Jerusalem was secure, Israelis and Palestinians would have jointly recognized the city as the capital of their respective states.

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said in a speech earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. would stop funding UNRWA unless the Palestinians "agree to come back to the negotiation table". The move radically reversed decades of United States policy in the region and the majority of observers said it would hinder attempts to establish peace in the Middle East.

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'Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!'

Palestinians rely heavily on the $320 million in aid money they receive each year, which experts say helps bring some security to the volatile region.

US President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he arrives for a New Year's Eve gala at his Mar-a-Lago resort, December 31, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Certainly much has changed since the negotiations of the 1990s, and the United States can not unilaterally impose a divided Jerusalem.

Palestinians have said that these tweets prove how the U.S. can not be a neutral party in any form of peace talks. But any serious attempt to revive the Israel-Palestinian peace process requires recognizing that the only path to a two-state solution lies through a divided Jerusalem.

Trump tasked son-in-law Jared Kushner with restarting the effort, and brought his former attorney, Jason Greenblatt, into the White House to lead the negotiations. It later said the ambassador would return.

While the idea that Jerusalem is the symbolic capital of Israel may be ancient and sacred, the argument that this mandates total and exclusive sovereignty claims to the city is recent and political.

When Trump declared Jerusalem to be Israel's capital, he insisted that the move would improve, not hurt, prospects for clinching a peace deal.

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