Palestinians respond to Trump’s threat to withhold foreign aid

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The Palestinians responded to President Donald Trump’s Tuesday suggestion that the United States might withhold future aid payments due to the Palestinians’ unwillingness to talk peace with Israel, calling the threat blackmail.

In two tweets, Trump noted that the U.S. gives 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 … with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

In response to Trump’s remarks, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, declared, “We will not be blackmailed.”

According to Reuters, the Palestinians are already angry at Trump over his Dec. 6 announcement that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said regarding Trump’s tweets, “Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor for silver.”

Abu Rdainah said the Palestinians would agree to return to peace talks which ceased in 2014 only if they were allowed to establish their own state along the lines that existed prior to Israel’s capture of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 war.

“If the United States is keen about peace and about its interests it must abide by that,” he said.

Israel contends that the pre-1967 war West Bank boundaries are indefensible and has vowed to retain all of Jerusalem forever.

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