Responding to Trump, presidency says Jerusalem not for sale


Trump said in tweets on Tuesday that the USA may withhold future aid payments to Palestinians, accusing them of being "no longer willing to talk peace" with Israel.

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley threatened on Tuesday that the USA would cut funding to the UN's Palestinian refugee relief agency if the Israeli-Palestinian peace process fails to move forward.

The United States has long provided the Palestinian Authority with much-needed budgetary support and security assistance, as well as an additional $304 million for UN programs in the West Bank and Gaza.

Trump infuriated Palestinians and Muslims across the Middle East when he announced late a year ago that the United States would consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move its embassy there, upending decades of USA policy and igniting protests. The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as their future capital.

Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is "an act of war", the Palestinian presidency said on Tuesday.

In another blow to remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel's parliament on Tuesday gave final approval to legislation aimed at making it more hard for the government to hand the Palestinians parts of Jerusalem under any future peace agreement. He went on to suggest the USA shouldn't make any future payments due to their refusal to accept his peace process.

Senior Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement Wednesday that Trump had "singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace" with his Jerusalem declaration.

Rebuffing the move, an extraordinary Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul declared East Jerusalem to be Palestine's capital.

President Donald Trump raised the prospect Tuesday of cutting off aid to the Palestinian territories unless Palestinian leaders agree to resume negotiations to broker a peace deal with Israel. We're not giving the aid.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, told Palestine's WAFA news agency that 'Jerusalem and its holy places were not for sale'. Additionally, Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, made it clear that humanitarian funding for millions of Palestinian refugees would not be protected.

"The President has basically said that he doesn't want to give any additional funding. until the Palestinians are agreeing to come back to the negotiating table", Haley said on Tuesday in NY. The Palestinians now have to show they want to come to the table.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. The vote carries no legal weight but would effectively legitimize Israeli settlements deemed illegal under global law and further push away the prospect of a Palestinian nation in the West Bank. Trump said in a series of tweets.

But Jeremy Ben-Ami, of the liberal US Jewish pressure group J Street, said: 'The only thing the president has accomplished by saying he's taking Jerusalem "off the table" is to ensure he'll have no place at the table where the conflict will be resolved diplomatically and a peaceful, secure future for the Jewish or Palestinian peoples ensured.