Not only did Trump say he would stop all funding to the PA if it refuses to negotiate peace with Israel, but he also threatened to close down its mission in Washington.
By: World Israel News Staff
US President Donald Trump has threatened further measures against the Palestinians if they refuse to come to the negotiating table, not stopping at halting hundreds of millions of dollars of aid.
According to a report on Israeli TV’s Hadashot, the next step for the US may be to close the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, whose officials represent the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the US.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Trump – sitting together with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and expressing the close US-Israel relationship – said that America gives “hundreds of millions of dollars” to the Palestinians, and “that money is on the table and that money’s not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”
While the US-Israel relationship has blossomed since Trump became president, ties between Washington and Ramallah have completely deteriorated over the past several weeks, ever since the US leader announced his recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, although he stressed that the borders would be finalized only during peace negotiations.
The Palestinians refused to meet with Vice-President Mike Pence during his visit last week to the Middle East, during which he addressed the Knesset and reaffirmed that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He also announced that the US Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem by the end of 2019.
‘Respect has to be shown to the US’
In his remarks in Davos, Trump referenced Pence’s trip to the Middle East, which did not include a meeting with Palestinian leaders. Trump said, “they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them,” adding: “Respect has to be shown to the US or we’re just not going any further.”
This is not the first time the US threatened to close the PLO offices. In February 2016, before the Trump presidency, several congressmen made an unsuccessful attempt to shutter the PLO mission in Washington over the Palestinians’ diplomatic warfare against Israel.
This past fall, in a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu raised the issue of the PLO’s call to try Israelis before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, a step which violates signed peace agreements with Israel. “The actions taken by the Palestinian leadership in recent days severely impairs the chances of achieving peace,” Netanyahu said at the time.
The Palestinian diplomatic warfare “would not go unanswered,” he stated.
Over the years, the Palestinians have made efforts to join several international bodies, in an attempt to circumvent negotiations with Israel and unilaterally attain international recognition. Memberships in these organizations would provide new opportunities to challenge Israel’s legitimacy and besmirch the Jewish state on the global front.