Donald Trump blocks Obama’s £177m payment to Palestinians

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Donald Trump blocks Obama’s £177m payment to Palestinians

The president cancelled his predecessor's order, which was made hours before the new leader was sworn in

Donald Trump has blocked a payment of £177m ($221 million) to the Palestinian Authority ordered by President Obama hours before he left office.

According to Times of Israel reports, a senior PA source has confirmed that a spokesman for the new Trump administration called Ramallah earlier this week to say that the aid package would not be sent, at least in the immediate future.

Obama overrode the U.S. Congress to release the monies during his last few hours as president, with the Secretary of State John Kerry defying the wishes of the House.

The international aid was to be used for humanitarian purposes in the West Bank and Gaza, to support political and security reforms, implement good governance procedures and support the rule of law in a future Palestinian state.

The figure is dwarfed by the £30b ($38 billion) in military aid committed to Israel by Obama shortly before he left office, but Republicans have long sought to tie Palestinian aid to curbs on incitement, despite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly denouncing terrorist attacks against Israelis.

News of Trump’s reluctance to release funds to the Palestinians echoes a freeze on aid to the Palestinian Authority by International Development Secretary Priti Patel, who has said she is investigating claims that UK aid pays the salaries of terrorists.

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