One of the first decisions the Trump government took after becoming President was to freeze $220.3 million that his predecessor President Obama earmarked for the PA just before he left the White House.
However, the State Department has confirmed that Obama's money has reached its destination. Acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said last night (Wednesday) in a press briefing that the money was mostly for humanitarian purposes in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza, and in part used to pay Israeli creditors of the PA.
"None of the funding was to go directly to the Palestinian Authority," stressed Toner in response to questions on the subject.
At the same time, Toner criticized the conduct of UNRWA: "UNRWA is obviously something where ...we’ve been very vocal about our concerns given some of the allegations ... some of UNRWA’s programs and how it’s spent or used some of its funding...we certainly made those concerns clear to UNRWA’s leadership."
The disbursal was one of President Obama's last acts in the White House, and it was approved just hours before the exchange of Presidents.
Congress authorized the transfer amount to the PA, but at least two Republican lawmakers acted to prevent the fund transfer, due to PA actions attempting to join UN organizations as a sovereign entity.
State Department officials said they decided to delay executing the transfer until the new Secretary of State entered office - and it was assured that any funds transfer was consistent with the priorities of the Trump government.
As of now, at least according to Toner's testimony, the frozen money ultimately was transferred to the PA.