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Obama quietly sends $221m in aid to Palestinians before leaving office

Former Secretary of State John Kerry notified Congress of the move briefly before Trump was inaugurated
In December, the US allowed the UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements (Reuters)

The Obama administration sent $221m in aid to the Palestinian Authority on Friday - one of its final acts before Donald Trump was inaugurated, the Associated Press reported.

According to the report, former Secretary of State John Kerry notified Congress of the move briefly before leaving office. Lawmakers had approved the funds, but ranking members of Congress put a hold on the money.

The funds are being used for humanitarian aid in Gaza and the West Bank.

Despite signing the largest military aid package to Israel in history, President Obama had a rocky relationship with the Israeli government during his second term.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 was seen as a sign of disrespect to the White House.

In December, the US administration allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Trump and lawmakers from both major parties criticised Obama for not vetoing the UN resolution.

In his final comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kerry outwardly denounced settlement expansion. He said Israel cannot be Jewish and democratic without accepting the two-state solution.

Obama also reiterated his position against settlements in his last news conference, saying that “the status quo is unsustainable”.

He has also implicitly warned Trump against moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"The president-elect will have his own policy," Obama told reporters two days before the end of his tenure.

"But obviously it's a volatile environment. What we have seen in the past is when some unilateral moves are made that speak to some of the core issues and sensitivities of either side, that can be explosive."

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