Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan AshrawiMiriam Alster/Flash 90

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi blasted the United States on Friday, after the State Department announced it would cut $200 million in bilateral assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"The U.S. administration is demonstrating the use of cheap blackmail as a political tool. The Palestinian people and leadership will not be intimidated and will not succumb to coercion. The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale,” she said in a statement.

“There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation. The U.S. administration has already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources; now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this occupation," added Ashrawi.

The State Department notified Congress earlier on Friday that it would redirect more than $200 million in U.S. to assistance to the PA to "high-priority projects elsewhere."

The White House announced earlier this year that it had decided to re-examine the aid provided by the United States to the PA, in light of the ongoing disconnect between the sides since the decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as the capital of Israel.

Nine Democratic members of Congress recently sent a letter to President Donald Trump demanding he publish whether aid to the PA has been reduced or eliminated without first speaking to Congress.

Earlier this month it was reported that the State Department had transferred dozens of millions of dollars to the PA preventive security forces.

American officials said the purpose of the money transfer is to enable the PA security apparatuses to act in the most effective way to prevent terrorism in Judea and Samaria.

The funds in question did not amount to more than 12% of the budget originally due to be transferred to the PA and which stands at close to $240 million.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)