Trump: Money Will Be Cut Off to Palestinians if Leaders Don't Engage in Peace Negotiations

January 25, 2018

President Donald Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday and commented on the possibility of pulling U.S. aid to the Palestinians if they do not sit down to negotiate peace with Israel.

Netanyahu and Trump met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, marking the first time the two world leaders had seen each other since Trump announced plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

Trump addressed the United Nations vote from December to condemn the planned embassy move in which only a handful of countries voted in favor of the U.S. decision. He noted that the United States was "out in the wilderness by ourselves."

"We give billions of dollars away every year to countries and in many cases those countries don't even support us, they don't support the United States," Trump said. "Israel has always supported the United States, and so what I did with Jerusalem was my honor, and hopefully we can do something with peace."

Trump went on to say that the Palestinians, who received hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aide and support, disrespected Vice President Mike Pence when their leaders said they would not meet with him during a recent visit to the Middle East.

"That money is on the table and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace," Trump said beside Netanyahu. "Because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace and they're going to have to want to make peace, too, or we're going to have nothing to do with it any longer."

Prior to Trump's remarks, Netanyahu also commented on the historic nature of the administration's commitment to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Pence announced on Monday the move is planned for 2019.

"I want to say, this is a historic decision that will forever be etched in the hearts of our people for generations to come," Netanyahu said of Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "People say that this pushes peace backward; I say it pushes peace forward because it recognizes history, it recognizes present reality. And peace can only be built on the basis of truth."

The prime minister also said the Israeli people support Trump completely, especially regarding his stance on backing out of the nuclear deal with Iran if "fatal flaws are not fixed."