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March 28, 2018 2:21 pm

Sen. Schumer: Palestinian Authority’s $355 Million ‘Pay-for-Slay’ Budget is ‘Exactly Why We Passed Taylor Force Act’

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting of the Palestinian Central Council in Ramallah, Jan. 14, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.

The Palestinian Authority’s decision to again include a $355 million financial reward for convicted terrorists and their families in its 2018 budget will not go unpunished, Senate minority leader Charles Schumer declared on Tuesday.

The veteran New York Democratic senator told The Algemeiner that the PA’s terror payments budget “is exactly why we passed the Taylor Force Act.”

The legislation — named in memory of a former US army officer who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in March 2016 — was passed by the Senate as part of its omnibus appropriations bill last week and subsequently signed by President Donald Trump.

“Now the Palestinian Authority will face additional financial consequences for its abhorrent policy,” Sen. Schumer concluded.

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Nearly 8 percent of the PA’s $5 billion budget for the current year will be spent on the payments. In 2017, similar funds were distributed across 21,500 so-called “martyrs families,” using a sliding scale that provides the greatest compensation for the most severe acts of terror. Many beneficiaries of the terrorism rewards receive upwards of $2,000 per month, in a territory where the average monthly salary is less than $600. According to World Bank calculations, the average Palestinian family in the West Bank faces monthly expenditures of $1,000.

An examination of the PA’s 2018 budget conducted by Palestinian Media Watch — an Israeli research and advocacy organization — noted on Tuesday that almost half of the PA’s anticipated foreign aid budget of $775 million is being spent on the terror payments.

“In open defiance of the US, other donor countries, and Israel, the PA’s new budget shows it is continuing to reward terror,” the report argued.

The report highlighted that “for the first time since 2014, the PA has stopped attempting to hide that it is the PA that pays salaries to all the terrorist prisoners.”

In 2014, the report said, “the PA closed its Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and lied to the international community, saying a new PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs was paying the salaries from non-PA sources.” The fact that the PA has directly resumed these payments means “that the PA, by Israeli criteria, is a terrorist organization,” the report observed.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) — who introduced the Taylor Force Act, which targets the PA’s policy, in the US House of Representatives — declared in response to the PA’s budget, “It seems like the Palestinian Authority did not receive the message we tried to send by passing this law, so now we have to ensure that the US will slash its funding to it.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon asserted on Tuesday that the PA’s budget demonstrated that President Mahmoud Abbas had “revealed his true intentions as he directly funds hundreds of millions of dollars to terrorists with blood on their hands.”

“Once again, the Palestinians have responded to American initiatives aimed at reconciliation with support for terror and violence,” Danon said. “We call on the international community, and the United Nations, to join the US in their pledge to put an end to the funding of Palestinian terror.”

The PA has fiercely criticized the new US legislation, condemning what its representative to the UN called “arm-twisting, blackmailing” methods that would “not break the will of the Palestinian people.”

“We look at that act as being a hostile act to withdraw the economic assistance to the Palestinian people,” said Riyad Mansour, the PA’s representative to the UN, following the passage of the bill.

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