With the outrage growing against Barack Obama’s last minute transferring of $221m to the Palestinian Authority just five days before leaving office, Trump’s State Department announced Tuesday that it will review the last-minute decision which was done over the objections of congressional Republicans.
The purpose of the review is to look at the payment and make possible changes to ensure it complies with the priorities of the Trump administration.
Kerry formally notified Congress that State would release the money Friday morning, just hours before President Trump took the oath of office.
The Congress had initially given approval for the Palestinian funding in the 2015/2016 budget, but Ed Royce (R) of California, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger (R) of Texas, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee — put a hold on the transfer as a response to moves the Palestinian Authority had taken to seek membership in international organizations. Although congressional holds are not legally binding they are generally respected by the executive branch.
Granger released a statement Tuesday saying, “I am deeply disappointed that President Obama defied congressional oversight and released $221 million to the Palestinian territories.”
She added: “I worked to make sure that no American taxpayer dollars would fund the Palestinian Authority unless very strict conditions were met. While none of these funds will go to the Palestinian Authority because of those conditions, they will go to programs in the Palestinian territories that were still under review by Congress. The Obama Administration’s decision to release these funds was inappropriate.”