Bill named after murdered American student strips funding if Palestinian Authority doesn’t stop paying terrorists.
The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee has added more conditions to the Taylor Force Act, which includes cutting aid to Palestinian Authority (PA) since it rewards terrorists who kill Jews. From Algemeiner:
A revised version of the Taylor Force Act — amended by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in advance of a vote this Thursday — places even more stringent conditions on aid to the PA as long as it operates a policy dubbed by critics as “pay-to-slay.” Currently, the PA spends more than $300 million of foreign aid money per year on monthly salaries to terrorists and their families that far outstrip the wages paid to Palestinian professionals, including the PA’s own civil servants.
A Palestinian terrorist stabbed to death American veteran and Vanderbilt University student Taylor Force on March 8, 2016, while then-Vice President Joe Biden visited Israel. The terrorist seriously injured Force’s wife.
Vanderbilt University confirmed his death:
It is with extreme sadness that I write to inform you that Taylor Force, a student at our Owen Graduate School of Management, was fatally wounded March 8 in a stabbing attack while on an Owen school trip to Tel Aviv, Israel. All other Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff on the trip are safe.
Taylor embarked on this trip to expand his understanding of global entrepreneurship and also to share his insights and knowledge with start-ups in Israel. He exemplified the spirit of discovery, learning and service that is the hallmark of our wonderful Owen community. This horrific act of violence has robbed our Vanderbilt family of a young hopeful life and all of the bright promise that he held for bettering our greater world.
Taylor’s family and his friends and colleagues have our deepest sympathy and utmost support.
The professor noted the services in Israel and Vanderbilt for Force:
On Friday, March 11, 2016, a service was held for him at Ben Gurion Airport as his body was being sent back to the United States for burial. Former Knesset member Rabbi Dov Lipman arranged the ceremony and officiated, and he was joined by William Grant, Deputy Chief of Missions at the US Embassy in Israel and US Army representatives in Israel.
Pay to Slay
The Times of Israel published a report on Monday that detailed how PA payments to these terrorists “now equal half its foreign budgetary aid.”
The PA Finance Ministry’s 2017 budget towards the terrorists “will amount to NIS 552 million ($153.4 million).” That is 13% more than the 2016 budget.
The budget also puts aside $190,869,166 for the families of the terrorists. In 2016, the PA only set aside $174,630,296 for the families.
All in all, including prisoners and ex-prisoners, the total comes to $344,313,451. That is “equal to 49.6 percent of the funds Ramallah expects donors to contribute to its budget over the year.”
The legislation will strip funding to the PA if the State Department determines authorities haven’t stopped paying terrorists for murdering Jews. Other changes include:
Among the notable changes marked up by the Foreign Relations Committee is a clause calling on all donor countries that fund the PA to “cease direct budgetary support until the Palestinian Authority stops all payments incentivizing terror.” This demand is aimed in the main at European countries.
The conditions through which the PA receives US aid would also be tightened. The PA would be required to revoke “any law, decree, regulation, or document authorizing or implementing a system of compensation” for terrorists and their families — a wording broad enough to cover the potential loopholes involved in navigating the PA’s complex rules for the payments.
In addition, as part of its certification of PA compliance, the State Department would be required to submit an annual declassified report specifying the dollar amount spent by the PA on terror payments, as well as its general progress in ending incitement.
The bill allows a few exemptions to the cuts, including aid that actually will go to needy Palestinians. It protects aid to “six medical facilities comprising the East Jerusalem Hospital Network – which provide medical services unavailable to Palestinians in the West Bank.”
Will the Bill Pass Into Law?
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will review the bill on Thursday. President Donald Trump has said that he supports the objective of the bill, “but did not unequivocally endorse it.”
The bill came out in February, but the White House hasn’t spoken much about it. This has caused worry on Capital Hill and lawmakers wonder if Trump’s administration believes “the legislation would disrupt their attempts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.” Trump did bring up the “pay to slay” payments to PA President Mahmoud Abbas last May.
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer also put fears to rest that israel did not support the measure. From The Times of Israel:
“Israel believes that the United States should end economic assistance to any government that pays people to kill Jews,” he told a crowd at the Christians United for Israel’s annual conference in Washington. “Period.”
“I can assure you that Israel is not the slightest bit concerned that the Taylor Force Act will pass,” he added. “Israel would be concerned if the Taylor Force Act didn’t pass.”
Impressions of Israeli consternation over the bill have stemmed, in part, from a June letter signed by hundreds of high-level Israeli military officials warning the bill would spur a security crisis.
The letter, which was orchestrated by Commanders for Israeli Security, said the legislation would “undermine PA stability; expand the circle of frustration and hostility; erode the security coordination; and thus hurt Israeli security.”
But a source close to the group told The Times of Israel that their letter of opposition was to the bill’s “original language” and that they would “support the amended draft.”
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