The Palestinian Search for Peace

Laura Christensen
January 6, 2018

In addition, it is the largest single donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (Unrwa), providing $368m in 2016.

Erekat slammed the American president for being unreasonable with the Palestinians and accused Trump, by his actions, of encouraging "the Israeli occupation to consolidate its occupation and apartheid regime".

Erekat pointed to what he said were other USA moves against the Palestinians, including efforts to close the PLO mission in Washington, and made an apparent reference to a bill that would cut economic aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay wages to the families of terrorists who attacked Israelis.

Tensions between the United States and Palestinians reached a breaking point after Trump's December 6 recognition of the Israeli capital, with the Palestinian leadership declaring that it would no longer accept Washington as a peace broker.

Abu Rdainah said the Palestinians were not opposed to returning to peace talks that collapsed in 2014, but only on the basis of establishing a state of their own along the lines that existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war.

"The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process", said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has said he will not accept any U.S. peace plan for the Middle East.

"President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice".

Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP news agency: "We are not against going back to negotiations, but [these should be] based on global laws and resolutions that have recognised an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital".

In late December, Trump threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted in favour of the UN resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Balloon crash at Egyptian city of Luxor kills tourist
In 2016, hot air balloon rides were temporarily suspended in Egypt after a crash led to 22 Chinese tourists being injured. The mishap reportedly occurred at a time when the balloon was flying over the ancient Egyptian city.

In a classic Trump move, the US President took to Twitter to say: "the Palestinians HUNDRED [sic] OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, a member of Mr Netanyahu's Likud party, welcomed Mr Trump's aid comments, saying on Army Radio: "I am very satisfied".

Israel regards Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided" capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war - as the capital of a future state.

Certainly much has changed since the negotiations of the 1990s, and the United States can not unilaterally impose a divided Jerusalem. "The Palestinians now have to show the world they want to come to the table", she said. "We're trying to move for a peace process but if that doesn't happen the president is not going to continue to fund that situation".

USA funding for the Palestinians is $260 million, separate from about $50 million that helps pay for Palestinian security services.

Mr Trump's latest comments appear to contradict his previous statement that the USA recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital would not impact the final status of the city in peace negotiations.

This isn't the first time the Trump administration has threatened to cut off funding following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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.

Trump's top negotiators in the peace process are his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

Other reports by My Hot News

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