During his first day at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Donald Trump told reporters that he is holding steadfast to his position that if Palestine does not agree to peace talks with Israel then he will stop all funding to Palestine. CNN
quoted Trump as saying, “They’re going to have to want to make peace or we’re going to have nothing to do with them any longer. We’ll see what happens with the peace process but respect has to be shown to the US or we’re just not going any further.”
Trump’s threat, however, is not having the intended affect due to
Palestine's and Israel's hardline positions concerning the question of
whether Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel.
The question about Jerusalem has been a red line for Palestine and Israel. Palestine has warned there can be no peace deal if Jerusalem is recognized as Israel’s capital, while Israel has warned there can be no peace deal if Jerusalem is not recognized as its capital.
Due to their understanding of the complexities surrounding the question of Jerusalem, past U.S. presidents and our Western and Middle Eastern allies have decided to stay out of the fray.
Trump, however, threw himself in the middle of the fray after he came out last year and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Trump reasoned that his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would add the fuel to the fire to speed up the negotiation talks between Palestine and Israel. CNN
quoted Trump as saying, “I didn’t set it back, I helped it just by taking it off the table, that was the toughest issue.”
Earlier during this month, the Trump Administration announced the U.S. is cutting millions of dollars in funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The announcement resulted in Belgium
promising to give 19 million euros in order to make up for the amount loss due to the cut.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is denying Donald Trump’s claim that he refuses to talk to Israel.
Abbas has said that the only position he has taken is the one that is best for Palestine. Business Insider
quoted Abbas as saying, “When did we reject the talks? Where is the negotiation that we rejected…We can say no to anyone if things are related to our fate and our people, and now we have said no to Trump. We told him the deal of the century was the slap of the century. But we will slap back.”
It was reported
that Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Director of the CIA Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not support Donald Trump’s decision.
In an effort to tamper down on reports that he is in disagreement with Trump, Tillerson
came out and said that Trump was recognizing the “reality” of the fact which is Jerusalem is already treated like the capital of Israel.
He pointed to the fact that the Israeli government is located in Jerusalem.
This, of course, did not ease the concerns of U.S. allies like France and Turkey
who warned that Trump’s decision will make it more difficult to broker a peace deal between Israel and Palestine.