U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has announced that he and a bicameral group of Republicans in Congress have reintroduced a bill that will cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority until it stops providing "rewards" to the families of terrorists who attack Israel.
The Taylor Force Act is named after a former U.S. Army officer who was part of a Vanderbilt University tour group visiting Israel when he was brutally stabbed and killed by a Palestinian terrorist. Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction praised the terrorist as a "heroic martyr" and the Palestinian Authority has yet to condemn the terrorist attack.
This legislation shines a light on a very real problem. 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.
Other original sponsors of the bill include:
- Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.),
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.),
- Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and
- Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.)
"We cannot continue allowing U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used by the Palestinian Authority to reward convicted terrorists and their families for acts of violence against Israel or the United States," Blunt said. "Under current Palestinian Authority law, the more heinous an act of terror an individual commits, the greater the reward. This is an outrageous policy, and I urge my Senate colleagues to support this effort to end the Palestinian Authority's unconscionable law."
Graham was joined by all four, as well as Force's parents at a press conference Tuesday to announce the bill's reintroduction. They were also joined by representatives of OneFamily, an organization that brings together survivors who have lost family members to terrorist attacks and provides support and services for these individuals.
"After last year's brutal murder of Taylor Force, Israelis and Americans mourned the loss of Force, as well as the wounding of 10 others, including a pregnant woman," Lamborn said. "Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority praised the murderer. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority refused to condemn the attack, and the official Fatah Facebook page posted a statement of praise to the 'martyrs.' Attacks like these will continue until we use our power of the purse to actually hold the PA accountable. Our bill, the Taylor Force Act, does just that. Thank you to everyone here today who agrees that the right thing to do is clear: no taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority until it condemns terrorism and stops payments to terrorists."
Additional co-sponsors of the legislation include:
- Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.),
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.),
- Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.),
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas),
- Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and
- Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
"The family of Taylor Force experienced loss no loved one should ever have to endure," Scott said. "These reprehensible and senseless acts of terror have no room in our modern world, and we should seek all available resources to stop the evil that has claimed too many innocent lives. I stand by Sen. Graham's efforts, and look forward to continuing to explore all options to stamp out terrorism."
Cruz added that the legislation delivers a "loud and clear" message that the U.S. must not fund a Palestinian leadership that engages in incitement and supports acts of terrorism against both American and Israeli citizens. Force was a native of Texas.
"I'm proud to work with Sen. Graham and my colleagues on this legislation," he said. "[Force] served multiple tours in defense of our country before being murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv last year.
"The U.S. must hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for continuing this heinous practice of incentivizing and rewarding terrorism by providing monthly salaries and benefits to terrorists, their families and the families of those who died committing acts of terrorism. We must ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars are not being used to fund and enable Palestinian terrorism and stand with Israel against radical Islamic terrorism that targets citizens from both of our countries."
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