Gave $221 Million to Palestinians in Last Hours
By Joel Pollak
January 23, 2017
The Associated Press reported Monday that former President
Barack Obama released $221 million in U.S. funding for the Palestinian Authority
on the morning of Friday, January 20 — just hours before he was to leave
The AP details:
A State Department official and several congressional aides
say the outgoing administration formally notified Congress it would spend the
money Friday morning, just before Donald Trump became president.
More than $227 million in foreign affairs funding was
released at the time, including $4 million for climate change programs and $1.25
million for U.N. organizations.
At least two GOP lawmakers had placed holds on the
Palestinian funds. Congressional holds are generally respected by the executive
branch but are not legally binding.
This was not the first time Obama had granted funding
to the Palestinian Authority despite Congress’s wishes. In 2012, for example,
he unblocked nearly
$200 million that had been frozen in response to Palestinians’ unilateral
actions at the United Nations, using a legal waiver included in the Palestinian
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.
The Palestinian Authority reportedly provides compensation
to the families of terrorist prisoners incarcerated in Israeli prisons, as well
as to those who have killed themselves in attacks on Israeli civilians. The
total amount allocated by the Palestinian Authority budget for “the Care for
the Families of the Martyrs” was reportedly about $175 million in 2016,
and an additional $140 million was reportedly allocated for payments to
prisoners and former prisoners.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was also
among the first world leaders that President Obama called after taking office in