U.S. President Donald Trump started off the New Year by issuing a couple of overt threats, specifically to countries receiving American aid, on Twitter.
First, he berated Pakistan, a long-term military ally, for providing "safe haven" to terrorists. Then, he responded to North Korea's "nuclear button" by saying he has a "bigger nuclear button."
Trump also threatened to cut millions of dollars in aid to Palestinians, claiming they were not "willing to talk peace," especially after his administration recognized Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.
It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
...peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
It is important to mention here that just when Trump was criticizing Palestine over hindering negotiations, Israel enacted a controversial law that would essentially make peace in the Middle East (further) unattainable.
Sponsored by the Jewish Home coalition party, the Knesset, Israel's parliament, passed an amendment that would make it harder for it to cede control over parts of Jerusalem in any peace deal with the Palestinians.
Many believe the legislation is yet another act of further provocation by the Jewish state since it consolidates Israel's illegal military occupation in the embattled city, thereby endangering any remaining chances of peace negotiations.
Also, the right-wing Israeli government passed the law emboldened by Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a decision that, in essence, undermines the Palestinian struggle for national identity and statehood.
In response, Palestinians no longer trust the U.S. with peace talks since Trump's Jerusalem decision clearly proves the U.S. can no longer claim to be an unbiased mediator. But Trump just termed this lack of trust as Palestinian opposition to engage in peace negotiations.
Palestinian-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are reportedly set to receive $251 million in aid for 2018. Israel, on the other hand, receives billions of American taxpayer dollars each year. In fact, the U.S. has pledged to provide $38 billion in military aid to Israel over 10 years.
While Trump seems outraged at Palestinians for their reluctance to "talk," he doesn't seem to keen to discuss how Israel is enacting actual laws to make the conflict even more intractable.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters