Thursday 5 December 2019

Palestinians accuse US of funding 'blackmail'

Donald Trump. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Samuel Osborne

Palestinian authorities have reacted with outrage and accused Donald Trump of "blackmail" after the US suggested it would temporarily stop funding humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees.

In a tweet, Mr Trump accused the Palestinians of being "no longer willing to talk peace". The Palestinians previously said they rejected any US role as a mediator in the Middle East in protest against Mr Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The Palestinian President's office rebuffed Mr Trump's remarks, saying: "Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor silver."

Mahmoud Abbas's spokes-man, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, said: "If the United States is keen on its interests in the Middle East, it must implement the international resolutions which call for a state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Without this, the United States will push the region to the abyss."

The US is the largest donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency, with a pledge of more than €303m as of 2016, according to the agency's website. The site says there are 5.9 million UNRWA refugees and other registered persons eligible for its services.

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