The Palestinian Authority has claimed that, if President Trump were to cut their foreign aid, children would starve.
But hungry kids apparently didn’t stop them from shelling out $50 million for a brand new private jet for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The luxury jet, which was paid for with $20 million from the Palestinian Authority’s budget and $30 million from the Palestinian National Fund, a government fund that has been accused of funding anti-Israeli terrorism.
In 2016, the U.S. government gave $263 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority–but Trump has threatened to make large cuts if the Palestinian Authority continues to block a peace negotiation with neighboring Israeli. This week, he doubled-down on withholding even large sums of foreign aid–after Palestinian leaders refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence on his recent trip to Israel.
“They disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support,” Trump said, while being interviewed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “That money is on the table and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”
Trump’s threats resulted in over-the-top language from Palestinian Authority leaders, like top diplomat Saeb Erekat, who claimed that cutting aid would result in mass starvation:
“Now, he is threatening to starve Palestinian children in refugee camps and deny their natural rights to health and education, if we don’t endorse his terms and dictations,” Erekat complained last month, referencing Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would recognize the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump cutting financial aid to the Palestinian Authority would, by design, cause hardship in the semi-autonomous state. But considering the extravagant new purchase, it’s clear that the Palestinians are less concerned about losing their payday than they want the world to believe.