The Trump administration has cut about $200 million in development aid to Palestine, announcing Friday the money would be allocated to "high-priority projects elsewhere."
"At the direction of President Trump, we have undertaken a review of U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority and in the West Bank and Gaza to ensure these funds are spent in accordance with U.S. national interests and provide value to the U.S. taxpayer," said the State Department. "This decision takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza's citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation."
The Palestine Liberation Organization condemned the decision, labeling it "the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool" and vowing not to "be intimidated [or] succumb to coercion."
Trump on Twitter earlier this year claimed "we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect." He threatened to withdraw U.S. aid as a means of forcing Palestinian leaders to the negotiating table with Israel. Trump cited his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a boon to peace talks, but most experts believe the recognition made diplomacy more difficult.