Trump ramps up pressure on Abbas, slashes US aid to Palestinians

The US State Department notified Congress on Thursday of the Trump administration’s decision to reduce bilateral assistance to the Palestinians by $200m. This follows a review of funding for projects in the West Bank and Gaza “to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with US national interests and provide value to the US taxpayer.” As a result, the $200m will be redirected to “high priority projects elsewhere.” This step was initiated by President Donald Trump and his Middle East point-men, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, before releasing their Israel-Palestinian peace plan. DEBKAfile: It represents the ratcheting up of Trump administration pressure on the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and its head Mahmoud Abbas who has boycotted the US peace effort.

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