US Congress advances bill to punish PA for funding terrorists

The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the ‘Taylor Force Act’ that cuts all funding to the Palestinian Authority until it stops financially rewarding terrorists. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday unanimously voted in favor of the Taylor Force Act which requires the US to cut all funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it ceases financial rewards for terrorism.

The Taylor Force Act would require the US Secretary of State to verify that the PA has ended its policy of paying off terrorists and their surviving family members. The bill also calls on the PA to publicly condemn terror attacks and to take steps to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The legislation was named after American war veteran Taylor Force, who was stabbed to death in a Palestinian terror attack that left 10 others wounded in Jaffa last March. Force, 29, served tours of duty in the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan and was a graduate of the prestigious West Point Military Academy. He was in Israel as part of a Vanderbilt University trip.

The US provides the PA with approximately $300 million in aid annually. The PA spends approximately $300 million in payments to terrorists and their families every year.

“Since 2003, it has been Palestinian law to reward Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails with a monthly paycheck. Palestinian leadership also pays the families of Palestinian prisoners and suicide bombers. These policies incentivize terrorism,” Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stated. “With this legislation, we are forcing the PA to choose between US assistance and these morally reprehensible policies.”

The Taylor Force Act was passed 17-4 in a bipartisan vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in August. The full chamber is slated to vote on the bill in December.

To become law, the bill must pass the full House and Senate, and be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Israel, too, has been calling on the PA to stop paying these stipends, saying it encourages continued terrorism. The Knesset recently discussed a bill to deduct the sum of the allowances to the prisoners and families of terrorists from the tax revenues that Israel collects and hands over to the PA every month.

Palestinians: Terror Payments Non-Negotiable

However, the Palestinian leadership has vowed to continue with the payments.

The head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, said in June that the PA allowances to the terrorists mark “a red line and a fundamental principle on which we will in no way compromise.”

Qaraqe also criticized US administration officials, saying that their announcements on the subject of the allowances constituted “US-Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and the PA.”

The US lawmakers also passed another two bills intended to counter Palestinian terrorism.

The Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act, which received broad bipartisan support, sanctions foreign governments, entities, and individuals for providing financial and material support to the Hamas terror group for its practice of putting armaments in residential areas and forcing Gaza residents to relocate into buildings that Israel was targeting.

The bill specifically criticizes Qatar for supplying Hamas with significant financial backing and for hosting members of the terror group’s leadership.

The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act imposes sanctions on foreign governments and entities that support Palestinian terrorism.