President Donald Trump speaks during a Congressional Medal of Honor Society Reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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U.S. President Donald Trump's administration decided last month to cut all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides schools, health care, and other assistance to Palestinian refugees.On the contrary, it will probably make an agreement on one of the most contentious issues in the Israel-Palestinian conflict even less likely.Using financial blackmail to threaten the Palestinians directly may be even more ill-advised. Given the deep personal interest Palestinians have in the conflict's outcome, negotiators are already walking a tricky path that demands a nuanced approach and respects the sensibilities and aspirations of the people.The outcome in such cases will shape the lives and futures of entire populations.Over the years, Abbas has opposed violent resistance, shown unprecedented flexibility on the prospect of a demilitarized independent Palestinian state, and expressed publicly his willingness to compromise on contentious issues like the right of return.To avoid such an outcome, talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, conducted in a less public way, should be based on long-accepted reference points.
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