Promising Start On Middle East From New US Administration

Not one, but two, promising signs from the new Trump Administration, when it comes to dealings with the palestinians.

  1. Remember Obama and Kerry’s parting shot at Israel in releasing $221 million to the Palestinian Authority? Yeah, about that..

Not so fast
(Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Trump administration is reviewing the release of millions of dollars for Palestinian projects made by the Obama administration in a last-minute transfer that flouted congressional objections, according to statements provided to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry cemented the $221 million transfer in the administration’s final hours and informed Congress of it early Friday, triggering anger on Capitol Hill and a statement from the Trump administration that they would be examining all expenditures.

Details of the transfer remain hazy, sources told TWS, including the intended use, final destination, and whether it has been completed. The State Department told TWS the money was supposed to go through the U.S. Agency for International Development and be used for Gaza recovery programs, and that the transfer is in review.

“The Department of State is currently reviewing last minute spending approved by the previous administration and will make adjustments if needed to ensure that it aligns with the priorities of the Trump-Pence administration,” Acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

Other reports suggest that the administration told Congress the funds would go to both the West Bank and Gaza, and that some money would be allocated for good governance projects, among other reforms.

2. Trump is reportedly preparing an executive order to halt US funding to UN agencies recognizing the PA or PLO as a full member.

Photo: Reuters

Donald Trump is preparing an executive order that would halt all US funding to UN agencies that recognize the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization as a full member.

The move, first reported in the New York Times, would create a committee tasked with reviewing US aid to the international bodies and programs. The order specifically calls for a review of aid to UN peacekeeping efforts.

But the terms of this executive order have already been codified in US law, according to former Obama administration officials, who were compelled to cut funding to UNESCO after the body accepted Palestine as a full member in 2011.

Trump’s consideration of this executive order, titled “Auditing and Reducing US Funding of International Organizations,” pairs with a Senate effort to legislate similar threats against the UN over its actions targeting Israel. That effort, led by senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, gained steam after the Obama administration last month abstained from a Security Council resolution condemning Israel over its settlement enterprise.

The executive order would also target organizations that circumvent sanctions against Iran, or that support reproductive rights.

True, as the report states, it is already codified in US law, but if anything, it shows the intent of the new US administration and how they view the PA.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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