Congressional legislators introduced a bill Tuesday that would cut approximately $300 million in annual taxpayer-funded aid to the Palestinian government, which has been criticized for supporting terrorism aimed at citizens of the United States and Israel.
Senior White House officials are supportive of the effort, with one telling Washington Free Beacon that President Trump will sign the bill into law if it passes in Congress.
“The Palestinian Authority’s use of its resources to provide material support for terrorism — indiscriminately targeted at American and Israeli civilians — is a grotesque example of how well-intentioned U.S. generosity can be turned against us,” said one official.
The legislation aims to tighten the purse strings of the Palestinian government and force it to abandon its practice of compensating terrorists in a step toward reforming its notoriously corrupt policies.
Lawmakers supporting the bill expressed concern that a portion of the current aid is being used by the Palestinian government to pay salaries to terrorists incarcerated in Israeli jails.
“This legislation highlights practical steps the Palestinian Authority can take to demonstrate a real commitment to ending the vicious cycle of hatred and violence that has prevented the Palestinian people from the prosperity and security they could otherwise be enjoying,” the White House official said.
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The legislation has been labeled the Taylor Force Act in honor of an American who was killed in a Palestinian terror attack. Should the bill pass, all U.S. aid to the Palestinians would be terminated as a direct response to its long-established policy of compensating terrorists and supporting those imprisoned for terrorist attacks.
“It’s an outrageous concept to be in law anywhere,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, who is leading the effort along with Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton, all of whom are Republicans.
Blunt added, “You can either stop doing what you’re doing or you won’t have our money, at least, to do it with. We shouldn’t allow killers and ruthless attackers to become recognized as martyrs in a system that we’re part of.”
Sen. Ted Cruz asserted that the Taylor Force Act is long overdue and that Congress should press forward now that Obama administration officials can no longer block it.
“After eight years of the Obama administration, the U.S. must take long-overdue action to hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for incentivizing and rewarding acts of terrorism,” Cruz said. “Roughly $300 million annually is provided in monthly salaries and benefits to terrorists jailed in Israel, their families, and the families of those who died committing such horrific atrocities against Israeli and American citizens, including Taylor Force.
“Enough is enough. We must stand up for victims of Palestinian terrorism. No more U.S. taxpayer dollars should be provided until the Palestinian leadership stops engaging in this heinous practice. The incitement and glorification of terrorism must end.”
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