Donald Trump said that aid to the Palestinian Authority will be put on hold because Palestinian leaders had refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence at their headquarters in the West Bank's Ramallah. Pence, who was on tour to the three Middle East countries, was expected to talk on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which exacerbated in the wake of the US administration's decision to recognize the whole city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In a heated comment during a joint appearance, Trump said that "hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support" that Washington planned to allocate to Palestinians "are on the table" but will not go to them "unless they sit down and negotiate peace."
Moreover, Donald Trump revealed that Washington has developed a peace plan that would be great for Palestinians. He said that the plan stipulates taking the Jerusalem issue off the negotiating table.
"There were never any deals that came close because you could never get past Jerusalem. I didn't set it back, because by taking [Jerusalem] off the table, that was the toughest issue."
The development comes after Mike Pence traveled to Egypt, Jordan and Israel to soothe tensions following Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there. The steps have caused outrage in the Arab world with the Palestinian leaders saying Washington could no longer be a mediator in the bilateral row.
The Jerusalem problem is the cornerstone of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The ancient city has been disputed ever since the foundation of Israel and the first Israeli-Arab war in 1948. The city was then separated into the Western and Eastern parts with the first one becoming a part of Israel and the second one being viewed as the capital of the future Palestine. However, Israel seized the eastern part of the city in 1967 and recognize the "undivided" city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.