(SM Chavey, Liberty Headlines) A Senate committee passed legislation that would cut off funding from the Palestinian Authority unless they make changes “to end violence and terrorism against Israeli citizens.”
The Taylor Force Act honors a West Point graduate who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Force went to Israel with his school, Vanderbilt University, and was killed in a terrorist attack by a Palestinian in March 2016.
If the act passes, the State Department will defund the Palestinian Authority’s “martyr” scheme, which provides compensation to those who were fairly convicted of committing acts of terrorism. The amount is based on the length of the prison sentence.
“The longer you’re in jail, the more vicious the crime, the more money you get,” Senator Lindsey Graham, who authored the legislation, reportedly said. “That’s inconsistent with peace. It is a sick system — it needs to change.”
He called the compensation program “a crime for young Palestinians to incentivize murder and terrorism,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
“This bill shines a light on the very real problem of ‘Pay to Slay,’ Graham said in a statement. “Taylor was an American hero who was brutally murdered at the hands of terrorist. Yet instead of condemning this horrific attack — and so many others like it — the Palestinian Authority rewards terrorists.”
The Palestinian Authority currently gives more than $300 million to terrorists and their families each year, according to Christian nonprofit Liberty Counsel. The U. S. gives more than $700 million directly and indirectly to Palestinians, meaning U.S. dollars are funding these terrorist attacks that kill Americans.
The act requires the Palestinian Authority to take three steps to ensure ongoing financial support from the United States.
First, they must take “credible steps” to end violent acts, such as the attack that killed Force, “that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control.”
Second, they need to publicly condemn those types of acts and to investigate or cooperate in investigations to “bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Finally, the Palestinian Authority has to end the “martyr” compensation plan.
The vote 17-4 Thursday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee received support from every Republican and many Democrats. A co-sponsor of the bill, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, praised the bipartisan support for the measure.
“The Palestinian Authority’s pay-for-slay program for terrorists is an outrage, and this bill will help bring an end this abhorrent practice,” he said.
Senator Cory Booker, one of the four Democrats who opposed the bill, said he worried that the 180-day terror payments check would cause complications.
“I share the bipartisan consensus about the payments being made for the terrorists acts, and I condemn that. It’s awful,” Booker reportedly said. “I worry that if we don’t do the national security waiver… we are actually talking about zeroing out all humanitarian funding. That is my concern.”
Many groups — including Liberty Counsel — have expressed support for the bill.
“We commend the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for passing the Taylor Force Act that will cut the supply of blood money to the Palestinian Authority to murder innocent Israelis and Americans,” said the group’s chairman, Mat Staver, in a statement.
“It’s unconscionable that even one American taxpayer dollar has been used to brainwash young Palestinians to hate the Jewish people and to pay terrorists to ruthlessly murder Israelis and Americans,” he added.