Jerusalem is not for sale: Palestine on Trump's aid threat

ANI | Updated: Jan 03, 2018 20:24 IST

Ramallah [Palestine], Jan 3 (ANI): Palestine on Wednesday rebuked United States President Donald Trump's claims of not providing financial aid to the country in the future, if they did not resume their negotiations with Israel.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, told Palestine's WAFA news agency that 'Jerusalem and its holy places were not for sale.'

Abu Rudineh also said that Palestine was not against returning to negotiations with Israel, but said 'the real peace and negotiations should be based on Arab and international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative leading to the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.'

"If the United States has any concern for its interests in the Middle East, it must abide by the principles and references of the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly, otherwise the U.S. will push the region to the abyss," he said.

Yesterday, Trump and his United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley threatened Palestine with cutting of financial funds to the Palestinians and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to ensure that the Palestinians would return to the negotiating table with Israel.

In a strongly-worded tweet, Trump had said: "We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. 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?"

Haley too echoed Trump's concerns and added: "The Palestinians now have to show to the world that they want to come to the table. As of now, they're not coming to the table but they asked 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."

On Monday, the Palestinian government had recalled its United States ambassador following Trump's controversial decision of recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel a few weeks ago.

Abbas had earlier said that they would not accept any peace plan from the US, after Trump's Jerusalem move.

On December 6 last year, relations between Palestine and the US turned sour, when Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, prompting international criticism and sparking protests across the world.

Jerusalem is considered a sacred place, which is home to Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites. However, it is also a disputed territory, contested by both Israel and Palestine, which sees it as a capital of its future state. (ANI)