Taylor Force Act Targeting Palestinian Authority Terror Payments Receives Procedural Boost in Senate
A bill before the US Senate that targets the Palestinian Authority’s policy of paying salaries and benefits to terrorists and their families received a major boost on Thursday, with the announcement that the legislation has been included in a larger package of bills that deal with spending on foreign operations.
The move means that the bill — known as the Taylor Force Act — now has another avenue toward final passage. If there is not enough floor time to raise the bill during a busy fall legislative session, it could still be passed by a Senate vote in December on package of foreign spending bills.
The act is named in memory of Taylor Force — a former US Army officer and veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars who was murdered in Tel Aviv in a Palestinian stabbing attack in March 2016. The 28-year-old Force, a Vanderbilt University graduate student, had been visiting Israel as part of a school-organized spring break trip.
The legislation would condition $300 million of annual aid from the US on the PA ending its so-called “martyr payments” policy — dubbed by critics as “pay to slay.” The Taylor Force Act was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month with a 17-4 vote.
Following the committee’s decision, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the act’s prime movers, declared, “This bill will cut off all funding to the PA until they change their laws which reward terrorism, which reward people for killing a young man like Taylor Force. I don’t want his death to be in vain.”
However, PA President Mahmoud Abbas remains adamantly opposed to any change in the policy. At an August meeting in Ramallah with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, the 82-year-old Abbas was reported to have told his guest he “would never stop paying these salaries until his dying day, even if this cost him the presidency.”