U.S. President Donald Trump rejected a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow U.S. aid to be transferred to Palestinian security forces and told aides months earlier that Netanyahu should pay for it, according to a report.
The U.S.-based Axios news site claimed the State Department realized around six months ago that $12 million in aid to the Palestinian security forces had not been cut as part of a gradual halt by the Trump administration in all funding to the Palestinians but was also never transferred to them.
The department realized the situation after Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and other Israeli officials told their American counterparts they wanted the funds to be transferred to help the Palestinian security forces, who were working with Israelis in the West Bank.
The department said in light of Trump’s policy to cut such funding, the decision would have to be cleared by him.
According to Axios, Trump wasn’t convinced.
“If it is that important to Netanyahu, he should pay the Palestinians $12 million,” he told his aides.
The money was never transferred.
The Trump administration has gradually cut all funding to the Palestinians over the last two years, and Netanyahu is known to have played a key role in encouraging it to do so.
Netanyahu’s administration had asked the Trump administration to cease assistance under the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).