On Wednesday, we reported that departing President Barack Obama utilized the final few hours of his executive power to release a payment of $221 million to the Palestinian Government.  The funds had previously been blocked by GOP lawmakers citing concerns about Palestine’s efforts to seek recognition from various international bodies.  Reports now indicate that Donald Trump’s administration has frozen that payment pending further investigation.

According to sources that have requested anonymity, United States officials notified Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah that the funds would not be released in the immediate future on Tuesday evening.  The State Department has announced that it is reviewing the decision made by former Secretary of State, John Kerry, as well as former President Barack Obama to send the money to Palestine despite congressional Republicans placing a block on the transfer.

While such blocks are traditionally upheld by the Executive Branch, there is no legal requirement to respect them.

The State Department says it will be reviewing the payment and make adjustments if necessary to ensure the transfer is in keeping with the priorities of Trump’s administration.

The congressional hold placed on the transfer of funds was intended to block the payment to Palestine as a result of a variety of issues GOP Congressmen felt were in violation of American interests in the region, as well as counter-productive toward a lasting peace between Palestine and Israel.

“The easiest way to sum it up is that Congress had been looking at various behaviors from Palestine — unilateral attempts at statehood, corruption, incitement of violence, and paying salaries to people in jail for terrorism — and that’s why the hold has been there,” said Dr. Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

He went on to call Obama’s decision to release the funds, “a strange message to send.”

“I was tracking President Obama’s 11th-hour moves on the Palestinians, and this issue never came up once … Most analysts and observers didn’t think Obama would or could do this.”