RAMALLAH, Jan. 31 — A senior Palestinian official said Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address foretells increased pressure on the Palestinians as it highlights the U.S.-Israeli alliance. “It became clear now that Israel doesn’t need American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) now with this American administration which is implementing what Israel wants,” Hanna Amireh, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, told Xinhua.
The AIPAC is a U.S.-based pro-Israel lobby group that advocates Israel’s interests in the United States. “Trump has a business approach toward foreign relations,” Amireh said. “So the measures taken to pressure Palestinians, financially and politically, are likely to continue.” The Palestinian official noted that the U.S. might also take punitive measures against the countries which voted in favor of Palestine in the last UN General Assembly vote to reject Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.
Trump delivered his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, in which he presented an overview of his policies in the first year in office. Trump touted that he delivered on his promises regarding the war against the Islamic State (IS) group and his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, besides the economic and foreign policies in line with his campaign slogan “America first.”
The Palestinians have rejected the U.S. as the sponsor of its peace talks with Israel since Trump announced to recognize the disputed holy city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and decided to move the U.S. embassy there. Israel took over East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and later declared the whole city of Jerusalem as its eternal capital, though the international community has largely rejected the move. The Palestinians aspire to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.