Father of West Point Graduate Killed in Tel Aviv Stabbing Attack: Palestinian Authority Use of American Funding to Reward Terrorists Must Be Stopped
The father of an American tourist who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in a Tel Aviv stabbing attack earlier this year told The Algemeiner on Thursday that he was appreciative that new proposed legislation that would restrict US funding for the Palestinian Authority was named after his late son.
“We’re honored, but of course it also makes us very sad,” Stuart Force, who, accompanied by his wife Robbi, traveled from South Carolina to Washington, DC to attend the press conference on Wednesday at which the Taylor Force Act was introduced by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Dan Coats (Indiana) and Roy Blunt (Missouri). “Anytime legislation has a person’s name on it, it’s generally not a good thing.”
28-year-old Taylor Force — a West Point graduate who served in Afghanistan and Iraq — was visiting Israel in March on a spring break trip organized by Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist on the Tel Aviv beach promenade.
“He had finished the military and was ready to enjoy life and then this happened out of the blue,” Force’s father said.
Earlier this week, Graham told The Algemeiner that the purpose of the proposed legislation — which would cut off US funding to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay monetary rewards to terrorists and their families — was to “start a debate that is long overdue.”
“We’ve got to go ahead and put sunlight on this problem,” Graham said. “The PA incentivizes young Palestinians to commit acts of terror…I hope Congress will understand that this is inconsistent with the two-state solution and that we’ll build support [for the legislation] over time…There has to come a point of awakening here within Palestinian society. I want the Palestinians to make a decision as to what kind of people they are going to be.”
As written, the bill requires “the secretary of state to certify to Congress the Palestinian Authority is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control.”
Furthermore, it calls on the Palestinian Authority to “publicly condemn such acts of violence” and take steps to “investigate and cooperate in investigations bringing perpetrators to justice.”
And finally, the bill says the Palestinian Authority must end “payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being convicted of terrorist acts, to any individual who died committing a terrorist act, or to family members of such individuals.”
Speaking with The Algemeiner on Thursday, Stuart Force said, “The bottom line is that the situation is degenerating over there and it’s time to address the issue.”
Force said the half a year since his son’s death has been an “emotional rollercoaster” for the family.
“One thing that was really helpful to Robbi and I was not only did people from all over the world send us sympathy cards, but almost everyone — including strangers we had never met — also included a story about how Taylor had positively influenced them,” he said. “Taylor was a person — and this is not me as father talking, but rather what we’ve been told by others — who people were better off for having known. That makes my wife and I feel pretty good.”
Watch a video of Wednesday’s press conference at which the Taylor Force Act was introduced below: