President Trump: No money to the Palestinian Authority until peace deal
President Donald Trump on Thursday admitted that bringing peace to the Middle East may be harder than he had thought, in comments to Jewish leaders marking the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
Trump, who said in May 2017 that forging peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would perhaps be “not as difficult as people have thought over the years,” said Thursday he might have been wrong.
“All my life I’ve heard that’s the hardest deal to make, and I’m starting to believe that maybe it is,” he said in a conference call with Jewish leaders and the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, to mark the Jewish new year.
“But I will say that if it can be delivered, we will deliver it,” he said, insisting that his team of regional envoys — led by Jared Kushner — “have made progress, believe it or not.”
Trump said during Thursday’s conference call that the aid would be suspended as long as the Palestinian Authority — who boycotted his administration after the announcement to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, — did not come to the table.
“The United States was paying them tremendous amounts of money. And I’d say, you’ll get money, but we’re not paying you until we make a deal. If we don’t make a deal, we’re not paying. And that’s going to have a little impact,” he said.
The Trump administration has cut funds to the United Nation’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA—an organization that cares for great-grandchildren of refugees—and pulled out of the world body’s human rights council due to anti-Israel bias.
The US government has also ended some $200 million in payments by USAID to the Palestinian Authority and Gaza.