Taylor Force Act would end support for radicals convicted by Israeli courts…
(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) After months of discussion, the U.S. House of Representatives easily passed a bill Liberty Headlines has tracked for months, that would deny funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) unless the PA ends a program of its own that finances terrorism.
The Taylor Force Act now moves to the Senate, where support for the bill’s overall concept has long seemed strong but where certain details have proved more controversial.
The bill was named after a U.S. Army veteran (and West Point graduate) who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist while on a civilian trip to Israel in March of 2016.
As LH reported in July, the Palestinian program at issue compensates terrorists convicted by Israeli courts and provides payments for family members of terrorists killed while attacking Israelis.
The PA claims the terrorists are legitimate “combatants” – even though, by all reasonable definition, the deliberate murder of ordinary civilians is not “combat.”
The Taylor Force Act would block U.S. funding for the PA as long as that Palestinian program remains in operation.
In the end, the bill proved so popular in the House that it passed by voice vote, with no recorded objection.
“This bill is pretty simple,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “If you finance or reward terrorism, you don’t deserve a penny from the United States. The Palestinian Authority should be forced to choose between its despicable practice of paying terrorists’ salaries and receiving foreign aid funded by the American taxpayer. And until that time comes, no government that supports the murder of innocent civilians can claim to be a serious partner for peace…. In Taylor’s memory, I look forward to the Senate passing this legislation so we can send it to the president’s desk.”
Other senior congressmen also weighed in.
“This bill is a critical step in ensuring the kind of atrocity that took place on March 8th of last year, which left former U.S. Army officer and Vanderbilt student Taylor Force dead, is not repeated,” said Republican Michael McCaul of Texas, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I had the honor to share the stage with Mr. Force, the father of Taylor Force, a few months ago, and I hope no family ever has to endure a tragedy like he and his family have. While this legislation cannot bring his son back, it can help ensure these tragedies never happen again.”
“The PA currently gives over $300 million annually to terrorists and their families. However, since the U.S. provides over $700 million of direct and indirect aid to the Palestinians, American taxpayer dollars are providing the funds to reward terrorists who kill American and Israeli citizens. As soon as attackers are arrested, the PA provides canteen expenses, salary, and health benefits. A government job upon release is guaranteed for those sentenced to five or more years. The families of “martyrs” also receive large payments for the loss of their family member.”
The potential pitfalls reside in the Senate, where (as LH reported in July) some senators think the president should have authority to “waive” the act for national security reasons and others think at least some humanitarian aid from the United States – such as for Palestinian hospitals – ought to be allowed through regardless.
Many of those objections were met by House amendments – amendments that at least one critic said went too far, thus “gutting” the bill.
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, wrote a few days ago in the Jewish News Service that the current bill gives too many exemptions for health services – and then got worse still.
The “appeasers,” said Flatow, “stipulated that the money which is withheld must be put into a ‘Palestinian Authority Accountability Fund,’ which can then be given to the Palestinians if the State Department certifies that the PA is taking steps against terrorism. We all know that for the past 24 years, the State Department has repeatedly ‘certified’ that the PA was keeping its obligations in the Oslo Accords—even though that certification was a total lie. No matter how blatantly the PA violated the accords, the State Department always found some excuse to declare it to be ‘in compliance,’ so that U.S. money would keep flowing. There is every reason to believe that the State Department will do so again.”
But the American Jewish Committee disagreed, saying that House passage of the bill was reason to celebrate, and that the exceptions for humanitarian aid were reasonable.
“As an organization committed to the two-state solution,” the organization said in a press release, “AJC believes that ending the practice of compensating Palestinian terrorists and their families is one critical step toward resolving the conflict.”Click here for reuse options!
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