Trump threats to cut aid cheap political blackmail, Hamas says
The Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, has described the recent threats by US President Donald Trump to cut off financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) and the Palestinian Authority as “cheap political blackmail.”
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, in a statement released on Wednesday, said the threats are indicative of the “barbaric and immoral American manner in dealing with the just Palestinian cause and the rights of the Palestinian people.”
He further stressed the need for unity among various Palestinian political factions, and formation of a united front in the face of Trump’s positions on Palestine.
Barhoum then called for stronger Arab, Islamic and international support for Palestinians’ rights, and stiffer opposition to the policies of Washington and Tel Aviv.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Trump said that the US pays “the Palestinians hundred of millions of dollars a year” and yet gets “no appreciation or respect.”
“But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” he added.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, stated on Wednesday that “Palestinians’ rights are not for sale. By recognizing occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital, Donald Trump has not only violated international law, but has also singlehandedly destroyed the very foundations of peace and condoned Israel’s illegal annexation of the city.”
Ashrawi added, “We will not be blackmailed. President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible action!”
On December 6, Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.
The dramatic shift in Washington’s policy vis-à-vis the city triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.
On December 21, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli “capital.”
In an attempt to avert the resolution, Trump had warned that “we’re watching,” threatening reprisals against countries that backed the measure, which earlier faced a US veto at the UN Security Council.
Israel, however, rejected the world body’s resolution while thanking Trump for his decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.
Jerusalem al-Quds remains at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians hoping that the eastern part of the city would eventually serve as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.