WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-F), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have written a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to demand that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas end his government’s years-long practice of paying terrorists and their families for attacks against Israel and its citizens when he meets with him at the White House Wednesday.
The practice is known as “pay-for-slay.”
The delegation also asked Trump to reverse former President Barack Obama’s “double-standard” policy that downplayed the PA’s support for terrorism and put the responsibility to achieving peace almost solely on Israel.
“One of the most troubling aspects of the Obama administration’s handling of this issue was the double standard applied to the two parties,” the letter, acquired by the Washington Free Beacon, states. “This double standard saw Israel criticized and condemned regularly, while the Palestinian Authority and its leadership were rarely, if ever, held accountable. This unwillingness to speak out when the PA rewarded and glorified terrorism left many with the mistaken impression that the PA was earnestly seeking peace — and that Israel was the impediment.”
The letter goes on to note:
The Palestinian Authority spends around $300 million a year – about eight percent of its budget – paying salaries and benefits to convicted terrorists and their families, including to those who have killed Americans, such as U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force. Far from being an informal practice, these payments are codified in Palestinian Authority law. The more deadly the attack, the larger the payments. Alongside lavish financial benefits, PA law establishes assistance programs to promote the careers of those who served time in jail for attacks – in essence, an affirmative action program for terrorists, funded by U.S. aid.
The Washington Free Beacon points out that the $300 million the PA spends on salaries for its Palestinian terrorists accounts for approximately eight percent of its total budget. This money comes from millions of dollars paid by U.S. taxpayers.
“The United States cannot treat the Palestinian Authority as a partner for peace, or take seriously president Abbas’s claimed desire for peace, so long as the PA is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year funding and incentivizing terror,” the letter reportedly states.
The Senators reportedly also asked Trump to express support for the Taylor Force Act; a new piece of legislation introduced in the House Foreign Affairs Committee in February by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) which seeks to cut U.S. funding (created under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961) to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza until payments to terrorists cease.
Breitbart News recently reported on the Islamic State’s presence in the West Bank: “A Palestinian member of the Islamic State group who is prominent on social media claims to have unmasked an attempt by Palestinian intelligence to infiltrate groups of IS supporters in the West Bank.”