The Obama Administration reportedly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in its final hours in power, giving last-minute notice to Congress on Friday morning in order to complete the transaction without opposition.
Congress originally earmarked the funds for the PA in 2015 and 2016, but holds placed on the transfer by two GOP lawmakers, who stopped the payments over Palestinian efforts to gain membership to international bodies, had kept the money out of the PA’s hands.
Defying the holds, which are not legally binding but are usually respected by the executive branch, the Obama Administration used its last hours to quietly send the millions to the Palestinians.
Notification of the spending, dated January 20, was given to Congress just a few hours before Donald Trump’s inauguration – making it extremely unlikely that any lawmaker would be able to stop the move.
According to the notice, the money is to be used for humanitarian aid in the West Bank and Gaza, though aid money given to the Palestinians is known to be often diverted towards funding terrorism, Hamas, and the pockets of Palestinians officials.
The outgoing administration was considered by many to be hostile towards Israel, making its decision to use its very last moments in power to help the Palestinians an unsurprising one.