WASHINGTON – The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation that would compel the Palestinian Authority to end its program of compensating the families of convicted terrorists for their crimes.
The legislation, titled the Taylor Force Act, earned unanimous bipartisan support from committee members on Wednesday. It now proceeds to the House floor for a full vote. Parallel legislation has been introduced in the Senate.
“With this legislation, we are forcing the PA to choose between US assistance and these morally reprehensible policies, and I am pleased to see this measure move forward in both chambers with so much support,” committee chairman Ed Royce (R-California) said in a statement following its passage.
The Palestinian Authority passionately opposes this bill, claiming that its “martyr” compensation scheme benefits generations of families that include those of legitimate combatants in the Palestinian struggle for independence.
Israel argues that the program is a perverse incentive for Palestinian violence against innocent civilians.
In principle, US President Donald Trump and his administration have condemned the program. However, they have stopped short of endorsing the Taylor Force Act, cognizant of PA opposition and the effects its passage might have on their effort to reboot the Middle East peace process.
The bill is named after an American Army veteran murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv last year.
If passed, the PA would have to end its compensation program, which provides monthly stipends to Palestinians convicted of murder or terrorism in Israel relative to the length of their prison sentences.
After negotiating some wiggle room into the bill, granting the PA time to phase out the program, Democrats endorsed the GOP-drafted legislation wholeheartedly. The legislation enjoys support from top Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and the backing of America’s largest Israel advocacy organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
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