Trump threat to cut aid to Palestinians carries risks

With a Twitter post threatening to cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinians, President Donald Trump has expressed his frustration over the lack of progress in his hoped-for Mideast peace push. But things could deteriorate even further if Trump follows through on the threat.

Over two decades of on-and-off peace talks, the U.S., Israel and the Palestinians have created a situation of interdependence, with American mediation at the core of this system.

A cutoff in aid would almost certainly harm the Palestinians, particularly those who rely on U.N. refugee services. But Trump’s credibility, damaged with the Palestinians after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, would suffer another blow. And in a worst-case scenario, Israel could find itself footing the bill to provide services to millions of Palestinians while heading closer toward a single binational state with the Palestinians.

Here is a look at U.S. aid to the Palestinians, and the potential implications of that funding drying up.

Q: What aid does the U.S. provide to the Palestinians?

The Palestinian Authority relies heavily on foreign assistance. It receives hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the international community, and the U.S. is a major donor.

The U.S., in contrast to other donors, does not provide direct funding for the Palestinian budget. Instead, its assistance focuses on development projects.

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