US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that if the Palestinian Authority does not become more conciliatory in its approach to Israel, then it will no longer receive American financial aid.
The Palestinian leadership has painted Trump's recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a major obstacle to peace, going so far as to reject any further American role in the peace process.
Trump's White House has responded that the Palestinian Authority was itself an obstacle to peace long before he ever came to the White House. Trump himself said that was evidenced by the Palestinian regime's latest refusal to even come to the negotiating table.
The president tweeted that "with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"
…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
Nor was Trump's threat a mere Twitter rant.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told reporters that cutting funding of the Palestinian Authority has been a very real topic of discussion.
"The president has said that he does not want to give any additional funding until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiating table," Haley said at a press conference on Tuesday. "The Palestinians now have to show their will that they want to come to the table. As of now they’re not coming to the table but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid. We’re going to make sure that they come to the table. And we want to move forward with the peace process."
Israel Communications Minister Ayoub Kara hailed this new approach by Washington, tweeting that Trump had finally ripped of the "Palestinian mask of hypocrisy."
Palestinian leaders were less impressed, insisting they would not be "blackmailed" by Trump.
Keeping to the Palestinian Authority tradition of ignoring even the most recent past, Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi presented the situation in a vacuum, suggesting that Trump's Jerusalem declaration was the sole reason the peace process had stalled.
"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!" Ashrawi screeched.