Obama gives Palestinians $221m before leaving office

Barack Obama photo: Reuters

The former president bypassed a Congressional measure aimed at cutting off funds to the Palestinian Authority.

During his last hours in office, former President Barack Obama gave the Palestinian Authority (PA) $221 million, US Department of State and Congressional sources told the AP news agency yesterday, after opposition by members of the Republican-controlled Congress recently prevented this transfer of funds.

A State Department source said that Secretary of State John Kerry informed several congressmen of the measure last Thursday just before leaving office. Congressional sources noted that the notice of the transfer was sent to Congress on Friday, hours before President Donald Trump's inauguration.

Congress approved the transfer to the PA in 2015 and again in 2016, but at least two Republican lawmakers took action that prevented the transfer because of the PA's efforts to join UN institutions. The US executive branch usually respects such measures by Congress, but the law allows them to be bypassed.

The sources said that in addition to the funds for the PA, $4 million was allocated to projects for combating climate change, an issue questioned by the incoming president, and $1.25 million to various UN organizations. The Obama administration recently released funds for the PA from the money allocated for humanitarian aid in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as for supporting political and security reforms and aiding proper law enforcement in the future Palestinian state.

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on January 24, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

Barack Obama photo: Reuters
Barack Obama photo: Reuters
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