The United States has warned it will cut aid to the Palestinians if they proceed with a unilateral bid for statehood at the UN in September, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Friday.
Israel and the US strongly oppose the Palestinians' UN plan, saying Palestinian statehood should only be achieved through negotiations. They maintain that a Palestinian state must emerge from Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have been stalled for almost a year.
More on Palestinian statehood bid:
- Ahmadinejad: No place for Israel in region
- China, El Salvador to back PA's UN bid
- Arab MKs seek Africa's support for PA bid
- September report to remain secret?
Erekat said the US Consul-General in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubinstein, told him Friday that the US will take "punitive measures" if the Palestinians proceed with seeking UN recognition of statehood. Erekat said Rubinstein warned the US will stop granting the Palestinians an annual aid package of $470 million.
"The American Congress will take punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority including halting American assistance," Erekat quoted the consul-general as saying.
The US consulate said it had no immediate comment.
The UN vote is largely symbolic. The Palestinians believe it will send a powerful message to Israel. The Palestinians say they are assured nonmember state status if they turn to the General Assembly.
Palestinians are planning mass demonstrations across the West Bank and abroad to coincide with the September UN General Assembly session, which they hope will give official endorsement for their state. The statehood initiative reflects frustration with long stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop