Leading American lawmakers expressed reservations about a law that could significantly curb Palestinian terrorism.
Senate Democratic and Republican lawmakers demonstrated consternation over the Taylor Force Act, legislation that would cut US economic aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it continues to issue payments to terrorists and their families.
At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday, the committee’s chairman, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), questioned the legislation’s “all or nothing” approach and suggested Israel would not necessarily support cutting funding to the PA due to fear of the PA being weakened.
Corker pointed to calls he received last year from Israeli officials who were concerned about a similar proposal by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to cut US funding to the PA.
The legislation is named after American war veteran Taylor Force, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist who left 10 others wounded in Jaffa last March. Force, 29, served tours of duty in the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan and was a graduate of the prestigious West Point Military Academy. He was in Israel as part of a Vanderbilt University trip.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction praised the terrorist who murdered Force as a “heroic martyr,” and the PA has yet to condemn the attack.
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the Foreign Relations Committee’s highest-ranking Democrat, said that while he supports the premise of the bill—that “terrorists must not be rewarded for their acts”—he questions the unintended consequences that might result from the measure’s passage.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced the legislation earlier this year, said the PA’s financial support for terrorists is “inconsistent with a two-state solution, inconsistent with peace, and we need to stop our emboldening of this practice.”
No Trump administration officials were present at Wednesday’s hearing on the legislation.
“It would have been nice to get an administration official here, so that we could get the views of the administration on this important subject,” Cardin said.
The bipartisan legislation, reintroduced in March, calls for cutting all US funding to the PA until it ceases monetarily rewarding terrorists.
According to PA law, the more heinous the act of terror committed, the greater the reward.
The US provides the PA with approximately $300 million in aid annually. The PA makes approximately $300 million in payments to terrorists and their families every year.
“This legislation shines a light on a very real problem,” Graham stated in March. “Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis? The Palestinians need to decide – do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them? You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts. The choice the Palestinians make will determine the type of relationship they have with the United States in the years to come.”
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff
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