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Trump won't give Palestinians $230 million Obama promised

Residents in Gaza load their car with food aid on January 24 [AFP]

Date of publication: 26 January, 2017

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A senior Palestinian source confirmed that the Trump administration has frozen the transfer and it is not expected to be released any time soon.

The US State Department has frozen a last-minute payment by the Obama administration to the Palestinian Authority (PA), a senior Palestinian source has confirmed.

US officials told PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Tuesday that the $230.3 million, earmarked to help rebuild the Gaza Strip, would not be transferred in the near future.

The funds are reportedly being reconsidered because of the new administration's shift in policy.

Representatives Ed Royce, chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger, member of the House Appropriations Committee are understood to have ordered the freeze.

Royce previously spoke out at a legislation hearing on preventing the United States from financing sponsors of terrorism.

"Cash does not leave a paper trail," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce. "Cash is the currency of terror."

The money was originally earmarked to support political and security reforms in the West Bank and Gaza.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) gave $317 million to the Palestinians in 2016, which was a 43% cut on the $557 million given in 2015.

The new Trump administration has signposted that its future policies in the Middle East may not be friendly to Palestinians, as Washington considers moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.

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