President Donald Trump Thursday in Davos, Switzerland, reiterated his decision to cut aid to Palestinians if they refuse to embrace his peace plan, noting that Palestinians’ refusal to receive his Vice President was ‘disrespectful’.
Speaking to the media, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump bashed Palestinians’ reluctance to adhere to his peace plan to end the conflict with Israel.
“That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace, because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace, too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer,” he said.
Following Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as capital of Israel, the Palestinians have embarked on a boycott of American officials and policy.
They shunned Vice President Mike Pence during a visit to Israel early this week marked by his address in the Israeli Knesset.
The US leader stressed that he has taken the Jerusalem issue, the hardest subject they had to talk about, off the table.
“We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don’t have to talk about it anymore. They never got past Jerusalem. We took it off the table. We don’t have to talk about it anymore.”
“You won one point, and you’ll give up some other points later on in the negotiation — if it ever takes place. I don’t know that it ever will take place,” said Trump turning to Netanyahu sitting next to him.
Trump refused to answer a question asking him whether taking the Jerusalem off the table would mean no part of the old city would be part of the future Palestinian capital.
Palestinians hope to make the Eastern part of Jerusalem the capital of their future Palestinian state.
The US president, in his December 6 decision, argued that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will not change status of the city whose fate will be left for negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
Trump also confirmed Pence’s remarks over the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem. He said the process will be completed end of next year.
A spokesman of President Mahmoud Abbas said they would not meet with the US administration until it withdraws its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Hanan Ashrawi, another senior official, argued that being unwilling to meet your oppressor “is not a sign of disrespect; it is a sign of self-respect”.
Palestinian ambassador to the US, Husam Zomlot speaking before the Middle East Institute in Washington compared Trump’s December decision to a “backstabbing”.
Zomlot commenting the US leader’s threat to cut the monetary aid said Palestinians will remain firm and will not trade their rights with money.
“If the choice is between starving the people of Palestine and surrendering rights, the people will not choose surrendering their rights.”