US denies $5 billion offer in aid to Palestine

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – The White House rejected a claim Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump offered $5 billion in aid to Palestine if it returns to the negotiating table with Israel.

The claim was reported by Globes, an Israeli newspaper, which said the U.S. president was even willing to give more than the amount proposed, according to anonymous diplomatic sources who spoke to Globes.

"Either the Palestinians continue their refusal and stubbornness, in which case the PA [Palestine Authority] will sink into a severe economic crisis, or the Palestinian leadership straightens up, comes to talk, and gets political and economic independence," the Globes wrote.

Trump's Special Representative on International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt responded saying that it was completely false and no such offer was made.

"Fact: False. When the peace plan is released, if the PA [Palestinian Authority] is serious about peace & wants to improve Palestinian lives, the PA should want to review the plan & engage. It is an absurd idea to pay $5b for a party to ‘return to the negotiating table.’ How would that accomplish peace??" Greenblatt said on Twitter.

The U.S. has taken steps in recent months to cut funding and resources to Palestinian interests, including cutting aid to Palestine and shutting down the office of the Palestinian mission in Washington.

The steps have been seen as the U.S.'s approach to its plan for Middle East peace.

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