Palestine: Mahmoud Abbas doubles down – Jerusalem not or sale

The leader of the Palestinian authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas was emphatic over the future of the Holy Jerusalem saying that the old city is ‘not for sale’ in response to Donald Trump’s to cut off aid if Palestinians do not return to negotiation with Israel conditioning the disputed city off the table.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions,” Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.
“We are not against going back to negotiations, but (these should be) based on international laws and resolutions that have recognised an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” he added.
The response came following Trump’s threats to cut off aid to Palestinians over the concern the PA has balked at entering into new US-led negotiations with Israel.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
“Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
The US allocates $300 million in aid to the PA.
The US leader also indicated that the US-led initiative does not include Jerusalem in the negotiations adding that Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.
Last December, Trump unilaterally declared Jerusalem as capital of Israel and announced the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy city.
The move reversed decades of the US foreign policy in the region and rode against former agreements and UN resolutions.
Abbas following Trump’s declaration ruled out Palestinian participation in any US-sponsored peace initiative as he argued that the White House has lost credibility.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official pointed out that the threats to cut off aid do not sway Palestinians’ stance on the Jerusalem issue.
“We will not be blackmailed,” she said.
“President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!” she added.
Earlier, US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, who at the global body indicated that, the US would cut its contributions to UN’s Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) if Palestinians reject new US-brokered talks.
“The Palestinians now have to show their will — they want to come to the table. As of now they are not coming to the table but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid,” she said.

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