The Obama administration reportedly sent $221 million to the Palestinian Authority on the morning of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Congress had initially approved the spending. But two House Republicans. Reps. Ed Royce (Calif.), who serves as the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger (Texas), who is on the powerful Appropriations Committee, put holds on the aid money because the Palestinian Authority was seeking membership in international organizations.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry notified some lawmakers about the decision to release the money on Thursday, the AP reports. The $221 million sent to the Palestinian Authority is intended to provide humanitarian aid in ares such as Gaza and the West Bank, as well as to support political reforms there.
The Palestinian funding is likely to draw anger from some in Congress as well as the Trump White House. Trump has vowed to be a strong supporter of Israel and has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Washington next month. He has also pledged to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday a final decision on that had yet to be made. Despite speculation in Israel that an announcement of the move is imminent, Spicer said the decision-making process is only in its very early stages.
In total, the Obama administration sent over $227 million of foreign funding on Friday, including $4 million to climate change programs and $1.25 million to United Nations organizations, according to AP.