Surprise: In Final Hours in Power, Obama Sent $221 Million to the Palestinians

Posted: Jan 24, 2017 1:05 PM

You already know that former president Barack Obama left office by taking a breathtaking parting shot at Israel by orchestrating a United Nations Security Council vote designed to guarantee that anti-Israel zealots would prevail. The move elicited swift, bipartisan condemnation on Capitol Hill, but Obama couldn't have cared less. He's never respected Congressional authority, and his contempt for Israel's leader has never been a secret. And thus, it was somewhat fitting that Obama -- whose first phone call to a foreign leader upon taking office in 2009 was to Mahmoud Abbas -- concluded his tenure by raising a lasting and historic middle finger to Israel, the only liberal democracy in the region, and a staunch American ally. But harming Israel in the realm of international legal precedent wasn't quite enough, it turns out. The Associated Press now reports that in the waning hours of their administration, Obama and ex-Secretary of State John Kerry gifted $221 million taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority -- who, it must be said, have repeatedly formed unity coalitions with Hamas, which Kerry's own State Department designates a terrorist organization:

Officials say the Obama administration in its waning hours defied Republican opposition and quietly released $221 million to the Palestinian Authority that GOP members of Congress had been blocking. A State Department official and several congressional aides said the outgoing administration formally notified Congress it would spend the money Friday morning. The official said former Secretary of State John Kerry had informed some lawmakers of the move shortly before he left the State Department for the last time Thursday. The aides said written notification dated Jan. 20 was sent to Congress just hours before Donald Trump took the oath of office. In addition to the $221 million for the Palestinians, the Obama administration also told Congress on Friday it was going ahead with the release of another $6 million in foreign affairs spending, including $4 million for climate change programs and $1.25 million for U.N. organizations, the congressional aides said. The aides and the State Department official weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. Congress had initially approved the Palestinian funding in budget years 2015 and 2016, but at least two GOP lawmakers — Ed Royce of California, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Kay Granger of Texas, who sits on the House Appropriations Committee — had placed holds on it over moves the Palestinian Authority had taken to seek membership in international organizations. Congressional holds are generally respected by the executive branch but are not legally binding after funds have been allocated.

Unlike Obama's ransom payment to Iran, it doesn't appear that this windfall was delivered via an unmarked jet packed with foreign cash, so that's a relief. And although it certainly violates precedent, it doesn't appear that this payment violated federal law, as Obama's prisoner exchange with hardened terrorists did in the Bergdahl deal.  Thanks to Obama's tireless efforts, a lot more terrorists regimes are a lot richer than when he took office, and a lot more captured jihadists are now free.  Kenneth Weinstein of the Hudson Institute notes that based on the (ahem) "moderate" Palestinian Authority's track record, a significant chunk of the newly-delivered American gift will be funneled into terrorism:

Oh well. Obama has made his peace with furnishing anti-American regimes with American dollars that will inevitably be used to finance terrorism, by his own admission. And while we're on the subject of Iran -- whom he also concedes is violating "the spirit" of the nuclear deal that he also calls a big success -- what have Obama's new peace partners in Tehran been up to lately?

Ukrainian authorities have confirmed that they seized a shipment of missile system components bound for Iran, according to official statements that could put the Islamic Republic in violation of international bans on such behavior. The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, or DPSU, announced late last week that it had seized at least 17 boxes filled with missile components bound for Iran, according to IHS Jane’s. “The DPSU said that, during an inspection of the aircraft on 19 January, its personnel had found 17 boxes with no accompanying documents, which the aircraft’s crew said contained an aircraft repair kit,” according to the report. “Three boxes contained components that were believed to be for a Fagot anti-tank guided missile system, the rest contained aircraft parts.” Days after this finding, the DPSU said that it had confirmed the missile components were destined for Iran’s Fagot system.

Is a single soul on the planet surprised by this? Cheating is what the Iranians do. They've endlessly cheated on arms embargoes, they cheated during the interim nuclear agreement, they've cheated in long-range missile development, and they've reportedly violated the finalized nuclear agreement, too. Take a bow, President Obama. Good riddance, "Smart Power." I'll leave you with this:

Read the whole thing. The details are astonishing. Then again, Obama's soft spot for unrepentant anti-American terrorists has been well established.

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