01/03/2018, 09.19
ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Jerusalem capital: Trump threatens to cut funds to Palestinians, contrary to the decision

The US president adopts the policy of blackmail against the Palestinians. He claims to pay "hundreds of millions of dollars" without getting "appreciation or respect". PA responds: "We will not give in to blackmail". The Knesset votes a law that provides for the separation of Palestinian neighborhoods and prohibits future territorial renunciations with a view to peace.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - US President Donald Trump is threatening to cut aid to the Palestinians, who recently strongly attacked the White House and proposed the exclusion of the United States from any role in the Middle East peace process. The revolt of the Palestinian leadership is also a consequence of Trump's [controversial and one-sided] decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfer the US embassy there.

A choice that had raised protests and indignation - with dead and wounded - concerned  Pope Francis and the Christian leaders of the region and determined resolutions and votes against the move at the United Nations.

Following an increasing trend  in recent weeks, the White House seems to be adopting a policy of financial blackmail and has launched - through twitter - the guidelines of its foreign policy. This time the Palestinians, who "are no longer willing to talk about peace" in the disputed region, are being targeted by the president.

The US leader recalls that "we pay them [Palestinians, ed] hundreds of millions of dollars a year and we do not get any appreciation or respect". He accuses Ramallah of not wanting "to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel, which has been necessary for so long". So, concludes the president, "why should we continue in the future with any of those massive payments?".

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO, in a note signed by Hanan Ashrawi confirms that "we will not give in to blackmail [...] Now [President Trump] dares to accuse the Palestinians, for the consequences of his irresponsible actions". He added that the US leader has "sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice".

The strategy of financial blackmail to the Palestinians was anticipated a few hours earlier by the US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. The head of US diplomacy at the UN had in fact said that Washington is ready to close the funding provided so far to the agency that provides humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees, a body of which the United States is the main donor. In 2016 the US allocated a sum equal to 370 million dollars.

Meanwhile, yesterday the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) approved the bill called "Unified Jerusalem", which provides for the separation of Palestinian neighborhoods from the holy city and forbids the renunciation of any part of the city. For the future, any decision on Jerusalem will require the consent of 80 parliamentarians, even if it were to be a peace agreement. The motion passed with 64 votes in favor and 51 against, one abstention.

Behind the bill, strongly supported by the ministers Naftali Bennett and Ze'ev Elkin, the objective is to isolate the Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem and establish a new Israeli local council. It will make the transition of sovereignty to the Palestinian Authority even more difficult in some areas in the future.

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