Donald Trump admitted the Middle East peace process is in difficulty and threatened to cut aid of more than US$300 million (HK$2.33 billion) a year to Palestinians.
"We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect," the US president tweeted. "With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make . . . payments?"
Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in response: "We will not be blackmailed. President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!"
Washington has long provided the Palestinian Authority with much-needed funding and security assistance. And an additional US$304 million goes to UN Palestinian programs.
Trump took office boasting he could achieve Middle East peace and heaped pressure on Palestinians to do a deal including a threat to close their US office.