Someone needs to tell Abbas: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
– President Trump and American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley had both previously threatened to cut funds should Abbas not engage in peace. Instead of listening, Abbas cursed Trump and the United States.
The United States have frozen over half of their contribution to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), from $125 million dollars to a mere $60 million.
The move comes on the backdrop of a deterioration in relations between the United States and the Palestinian Authority, which has been particularly sharp since President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6.
At the beginning of January, Trump conditioned the continuation of US aid on Mahmoud Abbas’s government “coming to the negotiation table” in a bombshell tweet.
“It’s not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we pay the 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”, Trump wrote in a tweet.
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“We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”, the next tweet asked.
Similarly, American UN Ambassador Nicky Hailey threatened to cut funds to the Palestinian Authority and UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). “As of now the Palestinians are not coming to the table but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid,” Haley said shortly after a UN vote against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem in December last year.
Palestinians have slammed the recognition disavowing the United States as legitimate negotiators between Israel and the Palestinians. The issue of the recognition reached the United Nations in two different occasions, at the Security Council and then at the General Assembly, and was condemned by the majority of countries in both occasions.
American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley vetoed a Security Council resolution which rejected the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and condemned the move of the American embassy from Tel Aviv promised by Trump in his speech.
Days later, Nikki Haley’s threat to “take names” of countries voting against the Jerusalem recognition at the General Assembly did not stop a landslide against the American move.
UNRWA has been catering for the needs of Palestinian refugees since 1949, and is active in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon as well as in Gaza and in the West Bank.
UNRWA is the second employer of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza after the Palestinian Authority, and the first outside of the Palestinian territories. On top of this, it provides relief to about 5 million registered refugees.
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