Barack Obama gave Palestinians $200 million before handing over to Donald Trump, say officials

Obama administration gave Palestinian Authority $222 million (£178mn) ahead of Trump inauguration

One of President Obama's final acts was to secure funding for the Palestinians

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Obama administration released a total of $222 million (£178 million) to the Palestinian Authority hours before stepping aside for Donald Trump, according to officials.

Representatives of the US State Department, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said that, before Mr Trump formally took office, the money was released to the body. 

It is unclear whether Mr Trump will demand the money back. However he may be wary of doing so, having attracted consistent controversy for his views on the Middle East.

Among Mr Trump's most controversial remarks was his pledge to stop treating Israel 'like a second-class citizen', and his claim that he and Benjamin Netanyahu would work together to stabilise the region.

His plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has drawn a host of criticism from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, with critics suggesting it would be a rash and hugely inflammatory step. 

Mr Obama was far more reserved on the issue of Palestine, and attempted to steer a largely neutral course. He told the United Nations that Israeli settlers cannot set up permanent homes on Palestinian land, but also said that the Palestinian Authority needed to recognise the authority of the Israeli state.