March 23, 2018 — New York
AJC welcomes passage of the Taylor Force Act, bipartisan legislation that aims to end the Palestinian Authority’s abhorrent practice of rewarding terrorists. The legislation is included in the omnibus appropriations bill adopted by the House and Senate.
“We applaud this important initiative and look to President Trump promptly to sign it into law,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy. “Palestinian leadership must understand that the United States will not tolerate its financial aid being diverted to encourage Palestinian terrorism.”
In 2017 alone, the PA allocated $344,313,451 for payments to Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons, their families, and to the families of deceased terrorists, according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The Washington Post reports: “In the Palestinian Authority’s budget, one can find $350 million in annual payments to Palestinian prisoners, ‘martyrs’ and injured.” This sum is approximately half the amount of U.S. aid to the Palestinians.
“Payments to the families of so-called ‘martyrs’ who died committing terrorist acts, and to the families of Palestinians imprisoned for such acts, are not only morally repugnant but, by legitimizing and even ennobling violence against Israel, undermine the prospect of creating Palestinian public support for reconciliation, for a negotiated two-state solution and an end to the conflict with Israel,” said Isaacson. “If the repeated pledges by Palestinian leaders to seek a peaceful resolution have any meaning, they should immediately put a stop to these payments.”
AJC notes that the Taylor Force Act, if triggered, would not end all U.S. aid to the Palestinians. Funds for Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation would be unaffected.
However, aid for other purposes deemed to directly benefit the Palestinian Authority would be withheld until the PA takes action to end violence, helps investigate perpetrators of violent acts, and terminates the payments that reward terrorism. Exemptions would be made for certain humanitarian projects, including the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, some wastewater treatment programs, and vaccinations for children.
If the PA did not meet the law’s criteria within two years, the withheld funds would be redirected to other projects in the West Bank and Gaza that do not directly benefit the PA (such as working with municipalities or NGOs) and to other projects outside of the region.
AJC urges the continued strategic allocation of U.S. resources in a manner that ensures Israel’s security, combats terror, maintains necessary humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people, and preserves the possibility of a two-state solution.
The Taylor Force Act is named after an American graduate student and U.S. Army veteran who was brutally murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Jaffa, Israel, in May 2016. Although the terrorist was killed by Israeli police, his family has been receiving monthly payments from the PA since the attack.