Palestinians say Jerusalem "not for sale" after Trump threatens to cut aid

US President Donald Trump at the White House

On Twitter on Tuesday, Trump said "We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect".

After Trump announced last month that he was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and planned to move the US embassy there, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that the ceremony "represents a declaration that the United States has withdrawn from playing the role it has played in the past decades in sponsoring the peace process". The United Nations has long considered Jerusalem's status as a negotiating point in a two-state solution.

"They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel", he said.

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.

The remark was widely condemned by the Palestinian side, which is angry at the U.S. over Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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

In a tweet, the president dismissed Palestinian fury over his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying he had planned for Israel "to pay" in future negotiations for his declaration.

"The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process", said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has said he will not accept any USA peace plan for the Middle East.

Trump earlier broke with longstanding US policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and setting in motion the processes of moving the USA embassy there from Tel Aviv.

At a press conference at the UN on Tuesday, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley fielded questions about US funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency responsible for funneling aid to so-called Palestinian refugees. "But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"

The United States is the largest donor to UNRWA.

It was not immediately clear whether Trump was threatening all of the budget, worth $319 million in 2016, according to United States government figures.

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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