Responding to Trump, presidency says Jerusalem not for sale

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with French president following their meeting at the Elysee presidential Palace, in Paris, on December 22, 2017.

Trump infuriated many when he announced late previous year that the USA would consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.

Trump's White House has responded that the Palestinian Authority was itself an obstacle to peace long before he ever came to the White House. "We are not against going back to negotiations, but (these should be) based on worldwide laws and resolutions that have recognised an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital", Mr Abu Rudeina said.

The Trump Administration on Tuesday threatened to withhold millions of dollars in aid that it sends to the Palestinians each year, accusing them of not wanting to negotiate a peace deal with Israel. Trump's declaration led Palestinian leadership to conclude the U.S. could no longer serve as a peace arbiter.

The US president "sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice".

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called the Trump administration's decision on Jerusalem the "greatest crime" and a flagrant violation of worldwide law.

Trump said in tweets on Tuesday that the US may withhold future aid payments to Palestinians, accusing them of being "no longer willing to talk peace" with Israel.

"They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan", UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said to reporters, according to Reuters. As of now, they're not coming to the table but they asked for aid.

Israel claims the city as its capital, following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, and considers Jerusalem to be a "united" city.

Trump last month recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite warnings from the Arab leaders, reversing decades of U.S. and worldwide policy on the holy city. "The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides". Let them vote against us.

Culture minister Miri Regev, a senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet, said she was "very pleased" by Mr Trump's call to cut funding to the Palestinians.

Palestinian leaders have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

"As we've said all along, the vice president is going to the Middle East in January", said Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah.

Past administrations viewed aid to the Palestinians - more than $5 billion since the mid-1990s - as a way to keep the volatile situation from blowing up further, as it has in the past during two intifadas, or violent uprisings.

Official reports said the USA was the largest donor to the agency, with a pledge of almost 370 million dollars as of 2016. The U.S. now gives $300 million in funding to the agency.

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