Ramallah: The Palestinians rejected US President Donald Trump’s fresh threat to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in aid on Thursday, with a senior official labelling him an “oppressor”.
Trump said in Davos the Palestinians had “disrespected” the United States by refusing to meet with his Vice President Mike Pence.
A spokesman for president Mahmud Abbas said they would not meet with the US administration until it withdrew its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“If the American administration will not go back on their decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it will remain outside the (negotiation) table,” Nabil Abu Rudeina said.
Another senior Palestinian official, Hanan Ashrawi, told AFP “not meeting your oppressor is not a sign of disrespect; it is a sign of self-respect.”
During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Davos, Switzerland, Trump said the Palestinians “disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them.”
“We give them hundreds of millions,” Trump added. “That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”
The United States has suspended tens of millions of dollars in aid to the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees.
The Palestinians froze ties after Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Trump’s move broke with decades of international consensus that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between the parties, drawing near global condemnation.