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Middle East Palestinian leaders tell Trump their country is ‘not for sale’

PALESTINIAN leaders told US President Donald Trump that their country was “not for sale” today after his threat to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Mr Trump ramped up tensions on yesterday by suggesting on twitter that he would halt US payments to Palestine that currently stand at $310 million (£229m).

“We pay the Palestinians hundred of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect,” Mr Trump wrote.

“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?”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh described the comments as “blackmail” adding that “Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor silver.”

The US president’s latest threat follows his disastrous decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which has been widely condemned.

Mr Rudeineh disputed the US president’s claims that the Palestinians were not willing to restart peace talks.

He said: “If the United States is keen on its interests in the Middle East, it must implement the international resolutions which call for a state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

"Without this, the United States will push the region to the abyss."

Veteran PLO peace envoy Hanan Ashrawi said Palestine “will not be blackmailed” by Mr Trump, who had “single-handedly destroyed the very foundations of peace.”

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

Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Ben Jamal told the Morning Star: “President Trump’s tweet, which referred to taking Jerusalem off the table, reinforces the fact that, when he recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he was indeed trying to make a final status decision that ignored international law and the rights and claims of the Palestinian people.

“His attempts to bully the Palestinians into compliance by withdrawing aid are obscene and confirm that the US cannot act as an honest broker.”

Mr Jamal urged Britiain and other countries to hold the US and Israel to account for breaking international law and ignoring the UN which voted overwhelmingly last month to reject Mr Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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