Humanitarian Exemption Will Not Weaken Thrust of US Legislation Targeting Palestinian Authority Terror Payments, Supporters Say
The provisions of legislation on Palestinian Authority funding of terrorism currently before the US Senate have not been watered down by a new amendment based on humanitarian concerns, supporters of the bill said on Sunday.
Following the passage of the Taylor Force Act by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in August, its sponsors accepted an amendment on September 8 which would enable continued funding for Palestinian humanitarian projects that are not connected to the PA. The amendment was demanded by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who voted against the Act in the Foreign Relations Committee, but now supports the legislation. Booker had met with sustained criticism over his original stance.
A prominent supporter of the legislation told The Algemeiner on Sunday that the amendment does not change the goal of stopping the PA from using international aid to “incentivize violence against Israeli and American citizens.” The main target of the legislation is the PA’s of paying salaries and benefits to convicted terrorists and their families at a cost of more than $300 million annually.
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.
Should the bill become law, all US aid to the PA will be conditional on verifiable measures to end the incentivizing of terrorism. PA President Mahmoud Abbas remains adamantly opposed to any change in the policy, telling visiting White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in August that he “would never stop paying these salaries” until his “dying day,” even if this “cost him the presidency.”
The legislation is virtually certain to be considered during the current legislative session, as either a stand-alone item or incorporated into a broader bill on foreign funding due to be voted on by the Senate in December.