The Department of State may be re-thinking a widely criticized decision it made last week.
One day before the inauguration, former Secretary of State John Kerry took a final swipe at Israel by announcing a $221 million payment to the Palestinian Authority.
The State Department announced that given President Donald Trump’s priority differences with the previous administration, it’s in the process of reviewing the funding and may make adjustments, according to The Associated Press.
Congress approved the payment to the Palestinians in the 2015 and 2016 budget years, but two Republican House members — Ed Royce of California, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger of Texas, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee — placed holds on the funding.
Although such holds are not legally binding after the funding has been allocated, the executive branch generally respects them — not this time.
Granger released a statement expressing her disappointment at the Obama administration’s last-minute decision.
“I am deeply disappointed that President Obama defied congressional oversight and released $221 million to the Palestinian territories. This was the first time the Obama Administration chose to ignore the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and released funds without approval,” she said..
“As Chairwoman, 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.”
The Obama administration has been pushing for release of the funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID) for some time, and comes on the heels its refusal to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
In response, then-President-elect Donald Trump told Israel to “stay strong,” a change in leadership is about to come.
And the results of that leadership change are already being felt.
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