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April 28, 2017 12:21 pm

New Congressional Caucus Seeks Altered Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

avatar by Steven Emerson

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The US Capitol building in Washington, DC. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC) was launched on Thursday, in an effort to revitalize US engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The CIVC plans to build on perspectives espoused by the Middle East Forum (MEF).

The caucus is putting the onus of peace on the Palestinians, saying that they must give up their rejectionist claims about Israel’s right to exist as Jewish state. The CIVC also calls on the US to cease pressuring Israel to make major concessions that often lead to more Palestinian violence and terrorism.

CIVC co-chairs Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) expressed strong support for Israel and its right to defend itself at Thursday’s launch event, which featured several other Republican congressmen.

“Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution to many of the problems that bedevil the region. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence,” DeSantis said in a statement announcing the initiative.

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The caucus wants the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stop its violent incitement against Jews and Israelis. It also aims to help reverse one sided, anti-Israel United Nations resolutions, and to oppose efforts to delegitimize Israel through initiatives such as the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Palestinian incitement prevents peace from materializing, Congressman Johnson said, specifically calling out the widespread practice of naming Palestinian institutions and schools after terrorists responsible for murdering innocent Israelis.

Representative DeSantis also blasted the PA for continuing to pay terrorists’ families after their relatives kill and maim Israelis.

“Any financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority by American taxpayers cannot continue so long as the PA continues to pay pensions and salaries for families of terrorists,” DeSantis said at Thursday’s event. “It’s a simply inappropriate use of taxpayer money, and it’s not fair to the American taxpayer.”

The Taylor Force Act, a bill named after a 28-year-old American tourist killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel last year, would prohibit US assistance to the PA until terrorist salaries and payments cease.

“If you die as a terrorist, as a ‘martyr,’ your family will get an annual stipend greater than the average Palestinian earns,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who sponsored the legislation. “In this case, the terrorist who killed Taylor Force…was hailed as a hero, was basically given a state funeral, and his family was given money by the state.”

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