Arab states have stopped giving money to the Palestinian Authority due to U.S. pressure, Deputy Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri said on Friday.
Arouri’s comments were aired by Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV as a rocket, fired from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, landed in an open field in Israel.
“There are Arab countries that froze their commitments to the Palestinian people, whether via the P.A. or PLO, because of an American decision. To be clear, an American decision. They came to our brothers in the P.A. and told them: ‘We won’t pay you a thing after today.’”
Arouri added that the United States had also severed its monetary aid to UNRWA, the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees, and has asked other countries to do the same.
The deputy Hamas leader claimed that Israel was the ultimate author of such policies.
“The Palestinian issue was central throughout its history, but we’ve recently come to a point where there’s a desire to eradicate it,” said Arouri. “Of course, the Israelis are outlining the parameters for this. The Trump administration is implementing it with all its connections in order to impose this map by force,” he added.
The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan was to erase the Palestinian issue and make Israel a legitimate part of the Middle East, but “this won’t come to pass without a resolution to the [Palestinian] matter,” warned Arouri.
Israel, said Arouri, “isn’t prepared to pay” what the international community demands for such a resolution, let alone recognizing the Palestinians’ “right” to the land.
“The Palestinian, Arab and Islamic right is all of Palestine. This is our right and no one can change our minds in this regard,” he said.
“Even when the international community discusses a [Palestinian state] within 1967 borders with the capital in al-Quds [Jerusalem], the occupation [Israel] doesn’t want to commit to that. [Israel] wants a resolution that establishes its control of Jerusalem and particularly the West Bank. The Palestinian residents there won’t have sovereign [citizen] rights, rather merely [rights] as residents. The Trump administration stupidly and insanely rushed to implement this vision.”
The U.S. administration had recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocated its embassy there, and had also recognized Israel’s right to “annex” settlements in Judea and Samaria, he said.
The administration “pressured countries across the globe to move their embassies there as well,” he added.
The United States had also sponsored the Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain while “skipping over the Palestinian issue,” and had applied immense pressure on Arab states in this regard, he said.
“Obviously, Arab states have the [2002 Arab Peace] initiative, which says that when a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established within 1967 borders, diplomatic relations between the entity [Israel] and the Arab-Islamic region will normalize. We, of course, oppose integrating the entity and making it a part of the region. But now, normalization with several states means shunning the Palestinians conclusively,” he said.
Arouri went on to say that the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian Liberation Organization and Fatah faction were under heavy pressure because they are part of the international and regional system. Conversely, he said, “Hamas is a resistance movement.”
“Neither the United States nor the international community has the tools with which to pressure us. The siege [on Gaza] was forced on us and we are in a daily struggle against the occupation in the Gaza Strip. They don’t have the means to pressure us, such as shutting down the [PLO’s] office in Washington or the international Middle East Quartet [comprising the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia] or anything of the sort,” he said.
In response to Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief and ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, who earlier this month slammed the Palestinian leadership for criticizing the UAE’s and Bahrain’s decision to normalize ties with Israel, Arouri said Bandar’s comments were “part of the effort to infringe on the Palestinian position and pressure [the Palestinian leadership].”
Arouri stressed that all Palestinian factions were opposed to U.S. peace deal and that Hamas had rejected an American invitation to discuss it.