Just under a week ago President Donald Trump released a statement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The controversial move effectively refused acknowledgement of Palestine’s claim as the capital and caused significant debate on home soil and overseas. Early this week, Trump doubled down on that announcement by threatening to withhold vital American relief payments filtering into the country.
• The president’s threat is a response to Palestinian backlash; local leaders claim they will refuse to participate in any American-led peace talks until the government recognizes their claim.
• Trump responded to the hot-button issue on Twitter, where he stated the U.S. paid Pakistan “billions of dollars to for nothing.” He also added that America pays, “…the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect.”
• President Trump accused Palestinian leaders of putting up obstacles to peace on purpose, in an attempt to force him to recognize their claim. The President also stated that Palestine refuses to negotiate a “long-due” peace treaty with Israel. For their part, Palestine is claiming that the United States government is attempting to blackmail them.
• Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., confirmed the truth in the President’s statements. She reports that the funds in question were in the form of aid going to a U.N. agency coffer held in trust for Palestinian refugees.
• Despite the threats, there is evidence that even Israel supports funding for Palestinian refugees to at least some degree. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, in an interview with NPR, claimed that Israel’s government sees the aid as mission-critical to relieving tensions and instability in Palestine.
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What do you think of President Trump calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel?