(photo credit: REUTERS)
The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Taylor Force Act, a bill that threatens to freeze State Department funds to the Palestinian Authority unless it ends its longstanding practice of compensating the families of terrorists convicted in Israeli courts.
The bill, drafted by Republicans, earned virtually unanimous bipartisan support after congressmen negotiated an off-ramp for the PA to retain its funding with serious commitments to reform the funding scheme.
The PA argues that the program is social security for the families of Palestinians unjustly detained or serving as legitimate combatants. Israel and the US, including the Trump administration, characterize the program as immoral and an incentive for violence against Israeli civilians.
The bill is named after a US Army veteran who was murdered in Jaffa in 2016 by a Palestinian assailant.
Jewish American groups and Israel advocacy organizations praised the bill’s passage as a righteous victory.
“US aid to the Palestinian Authority is important, but must never be carte blanche,” said American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris. “The House has taken a crucial step towards ending the PA’s intentional misuse of foreign assistance to financially reward Palestinian terrorists and their families.”
The bill would freeze financial assistance provided by the US absent reform, while retaining aid allotted to security cooperation and some humanitarian relief.
The Trump administration has yet to endorse this specific bill, but it has come out in favor of its principles, and has not threatened to veto the measure.
The House move comes at a complex time in US-Palestinian relations, as US President Donald Trump is expected to announce today his plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to ultimately move the US embassy there.
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