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Did Trump Just Say A united Jerusalem will be retained by Israel and Also Threaten to Cut Aid to Palestinians ?

by Rhonda Spivak, January 3, 2018



On January 2, 2018  President Donald Trump threaten cutting off  aid to the Palestinians unless they come back to peace negotiations, and  at the same time appeared to say that Jerusalem is not up for negotiation as Israel will retain all of Jerusalem, thereby negating East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital.


When Trump first made his declaration  recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital last month, he  was careful to stipulate that 

the recognition would not impact the final status of Jerusalem in peace negotiations, thereby appearing to leave open the possibility that East Jerusalem could be a capital for a Palestinian state. But he has recently just said that  "we have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table," which would appear to mean that Israel will retain both East and West Jerusalem, and a Palestinian capital will have to be elsewhere (ie Abu Dis or Ramallah)
"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 peace treaty with Israel," Trump tweeted. "We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more [emphasis added]. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"
So far, the White House has not commented to anyone on the apparent contradiction, but Trump's remarks certainly require clarification. It's interesting as well that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not directly commented on Trump's apparent contradiction, nor has Jordan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia (These Arab states haven't spoken up on behalf of their Palestinian brethren yet). 
It remains to be seen whether Trump's shaking things up so to speak will result in Palestinians returning to the negotiating table, or whether Trump will actually make good on his threat of  cutting off aid. It's possible, that he may decide to do nothing or reduce it, but not cut it altogether. We are in unchartered territory, but I will not be at all surprised if US aid to Palestinians is reduced  (According to the  US Agency for International Development, the  US spent $616 million on aid to the Palestinian territories in 2016,  which includes humanitarian assistance, private sector debt payments and infrastructure. ( .

 Ralph Ahren in the Times of Israel has written, "At this point it appears more likely, however, that US officials will somehow 

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.