It’s time to coalesce around legislation that penalizes a government for doling out cash rewards to terrorists — particularly when Americans are counted among the victims.
A Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs review of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) 2017 budget found nearly 50 percent of foreign aid will fund payouts to Palestinian prisoners, former prisoners and families of “martyrs” – those “killed or wounded in the struggle against Zionism.” Attacking Israel pays: $190,869,166 is allocated this year, up from $174,630,296 last year.
U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force was simply enjoying the waterfront in Tel Aviv in March 2016 when a Palestinian went on a stabbing spree. Force, 28, was murdered, and 10 others were wounded.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party lauded the killer as a “heroic martyr” and “the pride of all of young Palestinians.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham sponsored the Taylor Force Act, which suspends funding to the PA if the policy of paying terrorists and their families continues. Graham has said he’s open to discussions on the bill “to get a strong vote.”
It’s the perfect time for Florida Sen. Bill Nelson to help lead passage of the Act.
In 2014, Nelson told President Obama that the formation of a Palestinian unity government that includes terrorist organization Hamas, “undermined congressional support for U.S. assistance to the Palestinians.”
In the last Congress, Nelson co-sponsored a resolution condemning attacks on Israel and slamming Palestinian leaders for “paying monthly salaries to the families of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists” and “praising slain terrorists as martyrs.”
Congress should show a unified front. As Graham said, we “will stand with” the Palestinians “in search for a peaceful solution, but we will not empower them to kill people like Taylor Force.”
Haym Salomon Center, Washington, D.C.