TEL AVIV — Palestinian officials and terrorist groups are claiming that the Trump administration’s threat to cut funds to the Palestinian Authority and to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which ministers to so-called Palestinian refugees, amounts to a blackmail attempt.
Deputy Chair of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council Fayez Abu Aita told Breitbart Jerusalem that Fatah rejects what he claims is a campaign of blackmail aimed at getting the Palestinian Authority back to the negotiating table with Israel.
“Any negotiation must be based on the premise that Palestinians have the right to create their independent state on the 1967 borders and that occupied Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” said Aita. “And the U.S. also needs to take back its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation state.”
Israel does not consider Jerusalem to be occupied.
According to Aita, the American threats to reduce U.S. funds to UNRWA or any other UN or Palestinian institution “will only increase the escalation in the (Palestinian) territories, especially when it comes to damaging the services offered to Palestinian refugees.”
An analysis published by Israel National News stated that cutting UNRWA funding would not create a humanitarian crisis, as the PA claims.
Aita warned that the U.S. will be held responsible for the price of its “political blackmail.”
“The U.S. will be held responsible for the implications of this dangerous move,” he said. “No country, even if it’s called the U.S., will successfully blackmail the Palestinians when it comes to their rights.”
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem described the U.S.’s intent to reduce the amount of funds its gives the Palestinians directly or through the UN as “political blackmail that has the quiet agreement of a number of Arab countries, all in an attempt to destroy the Palestinian cause.
“Unfortunately, there are countries in the Arab world that cooperate with America and the Zionist entity and try to normalize relations with the occupation at the expense of the main cause of the Arab and Muslim world, the Palestinian cause centered in Jerusalem.”
Qassem added: “The American threat to stop the funds reflects the permanent position of the administration in the U.S. to unconditionally support the Zionist entity against the Palestinians and the Arabs.
“The Palestinian Authority must not give in to this blackmail and return to the bosom of the Palestinian people by unconditionally supporting the resistance against the occupation and acting to form a Palestinian strategy focused on the struggle and the resistance to the occupation until Palestine is liberated.”
The term “resistance” is commonly used by Palestinian terrorists to refer to terrorism targeting Israelis.
Hader Habib, an Islamic Jihad official, exclaimed that the American threat to reduce the funds given to the Palestinians “is proof that all administrations in the U.S. are acting by the Zionist agenda and what the various governments of the Zionist entity strive for and that’s to destroy the Palestinian cause, first and foremost the refugee issue and their right to return to their land from which they were expelled.”
Habib ignored how the funding cuts could further U.S. national security by refusing to finance a potentially destabilizing PA policy. Breitbart Jerusalem Bureau Chief Aaron Klein has further argued that UNRWA perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.