He couldn’t in the end help them declare statehood, but former US President Barack Obama did have a substantial parting gift for the Palestinian Arabs.
Just hours before he turned the White House over to President Donald Trump, Obama issued an executive order releasing $221 million in US taxpayer funds to the Palestinian Authority.
The money had been set aside as part of an earlier budgetary bill that included funding to the Palestinian Authority via USAID.
But congressional Republicans had blocked the transfer after the Palestinian leadership sought state-level recognition from various international bodies in violation of signed agreements with Israel.
GOP lawmakers argued that the Palestinian Authority was creating obstacles to peace, and that the US government, which had brokered the aforementioned agreements, must hold the Palestinians accountable.
But Palestinian Authority peace violations were never of much concern to Obama.
His parting gift to the Palestinians was seen as a final act of official support for their campaign against Israel, as well as a repudiation of President Donald Trump’s stated Middle East peace policies.