Published: Tue, January 24, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Obama Gave $221 Million to Palestinians in Last Hours

President Barack Obama met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas to tour the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the West Bank in 2013 [Pete Souza / White House] As one of his final acts in the White House, President Barack Obama sent $221 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority, AP reports.

Congress had initially approved the Palestinian funding in budget years 2015 and 2016, but at least two GOP lawmakers - Ed Royce of California, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger of Texas, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee - had placed holds on it over moves the Palestinian Authority had taken to seek membership in worldwide organizations.

The funding, which had previously approved for the 2015 and 2016 congressional budgets, had been frozen by at least two Republican lawmakers over the Palestinian Authority's efforts to join global organization.

The Palestinian funding is likely to draw anger from some in Congress as well as the Trump White House.

The Obama administration reportedly sent $221 million to the Palestinian Authority on the morning of Donald Trump's inauguration.

The $221 million sent to the Palestinian Authority is meant to provide humanitarian aid in ares such as Gaza and the West Bank, as well as to support political reforms there.

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 United Nations organizations.

Trump vowed to cancel billions of dollars in U.S. funding to United Nations climate change programs and has named Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. During the campaigns Trump had vowed to restore the relations with Israel, which in his words Obama's administration had ruined.

Trump has been a vocal supporter of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Many believe that the relocation of the embassy could sink the peace process and inflame tensions.

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