The White House is pictured in Washington D.C..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is warning Ramallah to end its policy of compensating the families of Palestinians convicted of murder and terrorism in Israel, as it reviews whether to cut foreign aid to the organization.
US officials told The Jerusalem Post that “nothing has changed” since the president signed into law the Taylor Force Act, a bill that requires the administration to freeze aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it halts the decades-old program.
Months earlier, Trump had called for a broad review of all US foreign aid, including of aid to the Palestinians. But one National Security Council spokesman said on Monday that the new law would tie their hands and require action from Palestinian leadership if they wanted aid to continue unaffected.
“At President Trump’s direction, assistance to the Palestinians remains under review,” the White House official said. “While the Taylor Force Act restricts aid to the Palestinian Authority, with very limited exceptions, the Palestinian Authority has the ability to ease those restrictions by ending the abhorrent policy of inciting violence against Americans and Israelis through payments to terrorists and their families.”
Palestinian officials said the compensation scheme amounts to a welfare program for the families of legitimate combatants in their struggle against Israel. Israel and the Trump administration consider it an immoral practice that incentivizes terrorism against civilians.
An i24News report this weekend claimed that aid had already been frozen pursuant to the Taylor Force Act, which passed in March. A State Department official denied the accuracy of the report.
The Taylor Force Act exempts aid for security cooperation and humanitarian assistance, and includes a buffer period for the Palestinians to phase out the program.
A congressional source told the Post that the administration was due to certify the PA’s compliance to the aid terms 30 days after the passage of its omnibus spending bill, which took place in late March.