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Global Geopolitical Series: Mark your calendars for Palestine donor meeting on January 31st

After President Trump threatened to cut U.S. aid to Palestine, donor countries to Palestine are set to meet on the last day of the month to decide on the future course of action. After his angry tweet criticizing Pakistan in his first tweet of the year, President Trump took aim at Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) over their refusal to come to the negotiating table, saying, “It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue... ...peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley later followed up saying, “The President has basically said that he doesn’t want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians are agreeing to come back to the negotiating table…..What we saw with the resolution was not helpful to the situation. We're trying to move for a peace process, but if that doesn't happen, the president is not going to continue to fund that situation…… We very much still want to have a peace process, nothing changes with that. The Palestinians now have to show the world they want to come to the table," Haley said. "As of now, they're not coming to the table, but they ask for aid. We're not giving the aid, we're going to make sure they come to the table and we want to move forward with the peace process."

The U.S. threat is quite serious given that fact that last year alone, U.S. funded 30 percent of the total budget of the Palestine aid agency.

On Wednesday, Norwegian foreign minister said that the donor group would be meeting on January 31st in Brussels as part of an efforts to revive the peace talks between PLO and Israel. This would be first such meeting since the U.S. threat. The ministerial-level meeting in Brussels would be hosted by European Union foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini and chaired by Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide. The 15-member International Donor Group for Palestine, including the United States, usually meets at ministerial level once a year, with the most recent session in September.

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