Acknowledging his push to broker peace in the Middle East has stalled, President Trump appeared to threaten to cut off US aid money to the Palestinian Authority Tuesday, asking why the US should make "any of these massive future payments" when the Palestinians are "no longer willing to talk peace." Trump, in a pair of tweets, 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," he added. US officials say that discussions on cutting aid, most of which goes to non-governmental groups instead of the Palestinian Authority, are still in the early stages.
The tweets are a tacit admission by Trump that his decision to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has thrown a wrench into his administration's plans to restart the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, which he had dubbed "the ultimate deal," the AP reports. Senior Palestinian leader Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement Wednesday that Trump had "singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace" with his Jerusalem declaration. In his tweets, Trump argued his decision had taken "Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more."