What reason would the Obama Administration have for releasing $221M to Palestine, right before leaving office?

  • I had just learned of this from Bradley's question here.

    What reasons would that administration have for suddenly giving such a large amount of money to a country in direct conflict with one of its only allies in the Middle-East? The transfer occurring before President Trump's inauguration gives it some fairly belligerent optics. This also seems to directly contradict his last year in office, of being extremely diplomatic and improving both the country's, and the world's optics of himself.

    The event seems quite counter-intuitive to everything he's done the past year, which makes me wonder why he bothered to push it through on his final days.

    Short article on the matter

    its seems consonant with the recent UN vote.

    That's completely bizarre. Under what interpretation is this not **literally** "giving aid and comfort to America's enemies"?

    @MasonWheeler The interpretation that does not define Palestine as an enemy of America. Please note: I am *explicitly* taking *no stand* on *either side* of the debate over the validity of that interpretation. I have no desire to discuss the topic. I am merely offering an answer to your question.

    @MasonWheeler In its context, that phrase is referring explicitly to those who are making war on the United States. While some of the other groups in the region could qualify, the PA doesn't really fit into that category.

    What answer is there in the political realm to logically explain anything? I cannot think of any. There are three categories of life I have never been quite able to explain logically: Religion, Sports.......and Politics

    @NZKshatriya I am under the impression that you didn't pay much attention to either sports or politics.

    @PeterA.Schneider That may be true. As a social liberal/fiscal conservative, living in a conservative/conservative household in Texas USA, not discussing stuff tended to lead to less arguments with parents.

    @I'm digressing, but: I wish there was more of a culture of civilized discussion. Avoiding to talk about contentious issues often means avoiding to talk meaningfully to people with different opinions at all, which is entering the echo chamber. Am I the only one who enjoys a good argument and is willing to put his own convictions to the test? Of course that includes the realization that many positions within the political spectrum are mere questions of taste, and not of right and wrong.

    @OP: I'm not sure you're using the word *optics* correctly.

    @PeterA.Schneider I completely agree, and feel that in NZKshatriya’s case there is merit to discussing things (as I cannot, since geographically my area is **heavily** populated with those who already agree with me). My notice against argumentation was literally just because this comment thread would be so many kinds of the wrong place to have such a discussion.

    @KRyan True. My comment was actually motivated by NZKshatriya's remark about avoiding arguments at home, not by your explicit rejection of further discussion right here, which is perfectly sound. (Although, thinking about it, the clashing views on the Palestinians is possibly the elephant in the room, and motivation for the OP ("What reasons would that administration have?"); discussing the funds may be more of a placeholder discussion.)

    @flith The secondary definition of optics can be found here. _Optics_ : North American (typically in a political context) the way in which an event or course of action is perceived by the public:

    @MattBrennan: Interesting. It seems to be something that's only become popular in the last few years: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/80574/what-is-the-origin-of-the-word-optics-thats-prevalently-used-now-in-politics

  • Panda

    Panda Correct answer

    5 years ago

    Basically, it's related to the US abstinent on UN Vote on Israeli Settlements (United Nations Security Council 2334).

    As quoted, then Secretary of State John Kerry said on the reason for abstaining:

    “The status quo is leading toward one state and perpetual occupation,” Kerry warned. “The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme element.”

    This article by Vox explains the more sensible reason why the US abstained:

    But beyond the White House’s formal statements on the matter, the move was widely seen as Obama’s parting shot at Netanyahu, with whom the president repeatedly clashed throughout his tenure.

    As my colleague Zeeshan Aleem writes, although the Obama administration gave Israel a bigger military aid package than any US president in history, and has vetoed past UN condemnations of settlements, Obama had a “tense and at times outright hostile relationship with the right-wing Netanyahu.” Among other things, they clashed over Israeli settlement expansion and the terms of the controversial Iran nuclear deal.

    (emphasis mine)

    So, in conclusion, it's likely a follow-up action to the abstinent of the vote. Since there's no official reason given, these sources on why the US abstained are the best reasons I could find.

    Very nice answer! Although It does raise some other questions, like why being right-wing conflicts with a two-state solution. I was under the impression Palestine had no intentions of a two-state solution. Perhaps that should be a separate question on its own.

    @MattBrennan You're welcome! That would be the broader topic on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict but there's a section on Wikipedia which explains it a little.

    @Panda One wonders what those would want with the Gaza Strip.

    @MattBrennan The Israeli right-wing widely views creating a hostile state that surrounds their capital as a generally bad idea (though they've offered it anyway in exchange for peace in the past and been turned down.)

    I'd like to suggest editing reirab's comment into the text of the answer. It is important to define the term 'right-wing' in its local context.

    @gerrit - One consideration is water. There is only enough water table to sustain approximately 1/5 of the current inhabitants. It's a zero sum game at this stage. Without being partisan (I am not) the Israeli administration are pushing the Palestinians into a desert.

    @Venture2099 seriously? where on earth do you get your information from? 'are pushing the palestinians into a desert'? Most of the water we drink here come from desalination plants (that Israel has built) anyway. We are not pushing anyone to a desert.

    @Shai an interactive map of the increasing Israeli footprint and retreating Palestinian communities would suggest otherwise. Let's not get emotive and stick to the facts. As it stands Israeli expansion continues and the water table is diminishing. I am not judging a sovereign nation for it's self interest but let's not deny it either. https://i.stack.imgur.com/26uyp.jpg for expansion and http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/israel-s-chronic-water-problem for water information.

    @Venture2099 the image you supplied is conceptually wrong. It's wrong to call it 'Palestinian land', because it never belonged to the Palestinians - there was never a 'Palestinian' state. Prior to 48', when the Israeli state was established, Jews and Arabs lived here together (by the way, they still do...). The apparent 'borders' in this image are a misconception really, as it implies Israel 'occupied' this land (whereas it belonged to no one - sometimes the romans, sometimes the turks, sometimes the british, sometimes the jews).Both seas in the photo are salty and can't be used for drinking

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