President Trump threatened Tuesday to cut off U.S. aid money to the Palestinian Authority amid a backlash over his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that has threatened to undermine potential peace talks in the Middle East.
In a pair of tweets, Trump said the Palestinians show “no appreciation or respect” to the United States for aid money given to Palestinian territories. President Mahmoud Abbas has vehemently objected to Trump's decision on Jerusalem and said his government would not accept any U.S. peace plan with Israel.
...peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
Trump's stance on Jerusalem, which is revered as a holy site by Jews, Muslims and Christians, upended long-standing U.S. policy. The president announced his decision — which reportedly came after months of internal White House deliberations and in the face of objections from top administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — in a speech last month and ordered the State Department to begin planning to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv.
Trump previously threatened to withhold U.S. funding from U.N. members that voted to rebuke the United States over his decision on Jerusalem.