Former US President Barack Obama, in his waning hours, quietly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which Congress had been blocking.
The Trump administration announced it is freezing the move.
The State Department is reviewing the last-minute decision by former Secretary of State John Kerry to send $221 million dollars to the Palestinians.
Kerry formally notified Congress that State would release the money Friday morning, just hours before President Donald Trump took the oath of office.
The funds — supposedly intended for reconstruction in Gaza and good governance programs for the Palestinian Authority — were being blocked by at least two Republican lawmakers— Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger (R-TX), who sits on the House Appropriations Committee — in response to Palestinian attempts to join international organizations, from which it intended to launch more international campaigns against Israel and before a peace deal with Israel.
Such holds are generally respected but are not legally binding.
When asked about the transfer by a reporter during Tuesday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that “[Trump] is very concerned about how taxpayer money is spent, whether it’s sent overseas and what we get for it in terms of the relationship or our support for a democracy or aid to another country for their defenses. But he’s going to be examining all aspects of the budget… He’s going to make sure that every deal, every dollar that is spent by the government is done in a way that respects the American taxpayer.”