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Trump retaliates against Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seen at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council on February 27, 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın / Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas seen at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council on February 27, 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın / Anadolu Agency]

Debkafile, an Israeli website close to the military intelligence, has reported that the Trump administration has decided to take a series of punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority (PA) after its successful campaign on Jerusalem in the UN General Assembly.

In a report issued on 23 December, the Israeli website cited its sources in Washington as stating that President Trump had decided to sever contacts and relations with the PA and President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to Debkafile, the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan under preparation in Washington will not be submitted to Ramallah but only to Israel and the relevant Arab governments.

These steps were taken after the PA had been warned more than once, and told to drop its campaign against the Trump pronouncement on Jerusalem because of its negative impact on the region, according to the Israeli website. It added that the White House move was communicated to the PA through a third Arab party.

The Israeli website further reported that the US will not publicly announce its freeze of aid to the PA. However, the administration will stop support and delay the resumption of economic projects backed by US institutions and re-examine them.

President Trump also decided not to invite Palestinian officials to the White House, State Department and US Treasury, and not to receive Palestinians at the US National Security Council where they used to participate in meetings aimed at shaping US strategy in the Middle East.

According to the Israeli website: “The US will halt its contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), an estimated one billion dollars per annum” and will order Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar to reduce the amount of aid provided to the Authority.

While no official statements were made by the US administration or the PA, the Israeli website confirmed that US officials have informed Saeb Erekat, the PA’s chief negotiator, that there is nothing to discuss with him anymore.

 

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