TEL AVIV – A bill to sever U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority until it stops paying salaries to terrorists and their families for terrorist attacks on Israelis and Americans will be reintroduced, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Tuesday.
Graham, R-S.C, said he will reintroduce the Taylor Force Act with nine Republican co-sponsors.
Taylor Force was a Vanderbilt graduate student and U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan after graduating from West Point. He was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist on a stabbing rampage in Jaffa, Israel in March of last year.
The legislation would halt aid to the Palestinian Authority until it could be determined that it was no longer paying compensation to terrorists and their families and taking steps to “end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens” as well as “publicly condemning such acts of violence,” according to the draft of the bill.
In 2016, the U.S. awarded $317 million to the West Bank and Gaza in aid that was not security-related, a report by the United States Agency for International Development showed.
The Orthodox Union, an American Jewish educational and social service organization, announced its support for the bill in a statement released Tuesday.
“It is outrageous that the Palestinian Authority uses U.S. financial assistance to reward Palestinian terrorists and their families for murdering Israelis, and the United States must stop being an unwitting party to this practice,” Nathan Diament, the OU’s executive director, said. “We commend Sen. Graham and the bill’s co-sponsors for taking a stand against violence and terrorism and supporting Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East.”
In December 2016, inboxes belonging to U.S. senators were flooded with more than 22,000 emails over a single week urging them to back the Taylor Force Act.
Breitbart reported that Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States, had launched a massive effort to promote the legislation.
“No American, regardless of political persuasion, should tolerate our tax dollars funding terror,” Pastor John Hagee, founder and chairman of CUFI, said in a statement. “This legislation ensures the PA cannot use our money to incentivize murder — it’s that simple.”
Hagee added that the matter was not a partisan one.
“The Taylor Force Act isn’t about Democrat vs Republican, it’s about right and wrong. Every Member of Congress should back this legislation, and it should be one of the easiest decisions they make,” he said.
In 2015, Israel started a policy of withholding the sum of “martyr” funds from taxes owed to the PA.