World Bulletin / News Desk
President Donald Trump threatened Tuesday to cut aid to Palestine following an embarrassing diplomatic defeat at the United Nations.
"We pay the Palestinians HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect," Trump said on Twitter.
"They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue 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?"
The threat comes on the same day that the U.S. withheld $225 million in aid to Pakistan over terrorism concerns.
Nikki Haley, the U.S.'s UN envoy, appeared to foreshadow the announcement earlier Tuesday when she told reporters at the UN's New York headquarters that Trump "doesn't want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table".
Last month, the U.S. was met with international opposition at the United Nations when the international body overwhelmingly rebuked Washington for its Dec. 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Only a handful of states stood with the U.S. in the 128-9 vote despite Washington's threat to cut aid to countries that voted against it.
Haley called the resolution "not helpful to the situation".
Trump's Jerusalem decision is widely seen as undercutting the long-held understanding that the city's status would be resolved as a result of Palestine-Israel negotiations. It resulted in widespread condemnation, including from close allies in the west, and sparked demonstrations in Israel and Palestine.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the move effectively disqualified Washington from serving as an effective intermediary in peace talks.
Israel considers Jerusalem to be its "undivided" capital after occupying the whole of the city in 1967, but Palestinians have long sought the city's east as the capital of their state.
Trump has said he wanted to broker a lasting peace between the parties, calling it "the ultimate deal". But so far, his efforts have been stunted. The task has been led by his son-in-law and special advisor Jared Kushner, who has failed to make any significant in-roads on the long-stalled talks.