” US President Barack Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint press conference in Ramallah on March 21, 2013. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90).

The US State Department announced on Friday that nearly $500 million in aid had been unblocked for transfer to the Palestinian Authority, months after Congress froze the funds in late-2012.

“To date, we have moved $295.7 million in fiscal year 2012 money… and $200 million in fiscal year 2013 assistance,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

The announcement came on the heels of US President Barack Obama’s first trip to Israel and the West Bank since assuming office in 2009.

The Palestinian Authority has been in the grips of a deep economic crisis, largely due to promised aid going undelivered. Additionally, Israel has stopped delivering Palestinian tax revenues to the PA — with the exception of a one-time payment of $100 million in January — following Palestine’s approved petition for non-member observer state status at the UN last November. “