19:55 GMT +322 July 2018
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    Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), residents of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria, queue to receive food supplies (File)

    Hamas Calls Trump’s Threats to Stop Funding UNRWA ‘Political Extortion’

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    GAZA (Sputnik) - The threats made by US President Donald Trump to cease assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) are just "cheap political extortion," the Hamas movement’s spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Wednesday.

    "The threats made by the US president to stop providing assistance to UNRWA and the Palestinian authorities until the Palestinians return to negotiations with the Israeli side are a cheap political extortion that reflects the US' barbarous and immoral behavior toward justice and the rights of the Palestinian people," Barhoum said in a statement.

    He stressed that the actions of the US president required of the Palestinians "unity and strengthening positions against such pressure," as well as "unification of a large number of Arab, Islamic and international positions to support Palestinians’ rights."

    The statement was made after Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that Palestine was "no longer willing to talk peace" with Israel, and questioned the issue of giving "hundreds of millions" in aid payments to Palestine to force the warring parties to resume negotiations.

    The Palestinian side has responded to the stance by saying that Jerusalem was "not for sale" and calling the disputed city the "eternal capital of the state of Palestine." According to them, the United States can no longer be a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, explaining that they are ready to start talks on the basis of "international laws and resolutions that have recognized an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital."

    READ MORE: 'Jerusalem Is Not For Sale': Palestine Fires Back at Trump After Aid Threat

    Meanwhile, Israel has been strengthening its position on Jerusalem, passing legislation, requiring a two-thirds majority in the Knesset for the country to abandon control over any part of Jerusalem in favor of a foreign country.

    READ MORE: Israel Buttresses Its Jerusalem Bid, Passing New Legislation

    As many Palestinians, living in the disputed area, do not have Israeli citizenship, holding only permanent resident status, which can be withdrawn any time for different reasons, the bill might force them to leave the city.

    Tags:
    funding, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Donald Trump, Palestine, Israel, Jerusalem
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