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February 16, 2018 2:07 pm

Members of Congress Urge ‘Immediate’ Passage by Senate of Legislation Targeting PA Terrorism Payments

avatar by Ben Cohen

Relatives and friends mourn and hug during the funeral of Itamar Ben Gal, an Israeli killed in the Jewish settlement of Har Bracha during a stabbing attack on February 5. Photo: Reuters/Jim Hollander.

As the US Senate prepares for an imminent vote on the Taylor Force Act targeting Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists, 63 members of Congress have written to House Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer urging its “immediate consideration.”

March 8, 2018, will mark two years since Taylor Force was murdered, and also two years’ worth of payments to the family of Taylor’s murderer as a reward for the horrific act,” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), a letter signatory who introduced the Act into Congress in February last year, said on Thursday.

The act was named in honor of Force, a former US Army officer who was stabbed to death during a knifing spree by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv while on an academic exchange program in Israel.

“Enough is enough,” Lamborn continued. “It is time we hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for financially incentivizing terrorism. My colleagues and I urge the Senate to provide this critical legislation with a vote without delay.”

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The letter stressed that “[E]very day we wait to send this legislation to President Trump, more money is being sent to an entity that celebrated Taylor’s murderer with a hero’s funeral and financially rewards these terrorists and their families for their horrific acts.”

The legislation conditions US financial aid to the Palestinian Authority on a verifiable end to its policy of paying salaries and other monthly benefits to convicted terrorists and their families, a practice critics say incentivizes terror. Once passed, the Act will require the US Secretary of State to present an annual unclassified report to Congress detailing the amount of money expended by the PA on the “martyr payments” over the previous 12 months, along with the PA laws that legitimize these payments.

Should the PA revise its policy, the legislation will then require the Secretary of State to confirm every 180 days that the US guidelines are being adhered to. In various statements over the last twelve months, however, PA leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, have insisted that the payments are non-negotiable.

In 2017, the PA spent $355 million on payments to the families of terrorists who were either convicted by an Israeli court, or who died in the process of executing their attacks. The US remains the PA’s largest international donor, having provided over $700 million in indirect aid to the PA as well as to the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA in 2016.

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