April 26, 2018

No hope of peace without Jerusalem recognition

06 January 2018, 01:05 | Marta Robbins

No hope of peace without Jerusalem recognition

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In addition, it is the largest single donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (Unrwa), providing $368m in 2016.

Trump's actions are likely to cast that further in doubt.

"We're not giving the aid, we're going to make sure that they come to the table", she said.

Tensions between the United States and Palestinians reached a breaking point after Trump's December 6 recognition of the Israeli capital, with the Palestinian leadership declaring that it would no longer accept Washington as a peace broker.

Israel passed a new law which will make plans for peace in the Middle East much more hard, just before US President Donald Trump attacked the Palestinians for lagging peace negotiations.

"We are not against going back to negotiations, but (these should be) based on global laws and resolutions that have recognized an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital", Abu Rudeineh said.

'President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice, ' she said.

Trump abruptly reversed decades of USA policy in December when he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, generating outrage from Palestinians and the Arab world and concern among Washington's Western allies.

In late December, Trump threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted in favour of the UN resolution calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to reporters at United Nations headquarters, January 2, 2018 in New York City.

"The president has basically said that he doesn't want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians are agreeing to come back to the negotiation table".

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Washington was paying the Palestinian Authority hundreds of millions of dollars a year "for nothing", he wrote, complaining that the USA received "no appreciation or respect" in return.

'Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!'

'Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions, ' Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP.

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev, a member of Mr Netanyahu's Likud party, welcomed Mr Trump's aid comments, saying on Army Radio: "I am very satisfied".

The United States is the largest donor to the agency, with a pledge of almost $370m as of 2016, according to UNRWA's website.

According to the monthly "Peace Index" by the Israel Democracy Institute (full results here), 65 percent of Jewish Israelis believed that Trump's declaration last month was in Israel's best interests, as opposed to 23 percent who believed the move damaged them.

"We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the global community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the USA administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace".

Palestinians rely heavily on the $320 million in aid money they receive each year, which experts say helps bring some security to the volatile region.

Efforts to harness improved Arab-Israel relations to push a peace deal have been at least temporarily derailed by Trump's Jerusalem recognition, breaking with decades of U.S. policy.

Trump's top negotiators in the peace process are his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

Trump's recent decision to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital has emboldened Israel's leadership to take dramatic measures to safeguard their claims to land in Jerusalem.

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