The Trump administration has informed the Palestinian Authority that it is freezing the transfer of $221 million which was quietly authorized by the Obama administration in its final hours on January 20, a senior Palestinian source has told The Times of Israel.
US officials conveyed to PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday that the funds were not expected to be handed over in the immediate future, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
On Tuesday, the State Department said it was reviewing the last-minute decision by former secretary of state John Kerry to send the funds to the Palestinians despite objections to the transfer by congressional Republicans.
The department said it would look at the payment and might make adjustments to ensure it comports with the Trump administration’s priorities. full story
“I am deeply disappointed that President Obama defied congressional oversight and released $221 million to the Palestinian territories,” Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee, said. “I worked to make sure that no American taxpayer dollars would fund the Palestinian Authority unless very strict conditions were met. The Obama Administration’s decision to release these funds was inappropriate.”
The Palestinian money is earmarked to fund humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza, to support political and security reforms and prepare for good governance in a future Palestinian state, Fox News reported, citing the notification sent to Congress. source
Republicans have increasingly called for blocking or canceling funding to the Palestinian Authority, not only because of unilateral diplomatic moves toward statehood, but also because of increasing evidence that funds are used to incite violence and provide financial rewards to terrorists.