Israeli security at the scene where a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on Israelis at the Har Adar settlement, outside of Jerusalem, Sept. 26, 2017..
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
We commend MKs from all parties except Meretz and the Joint List who together passed the Israeli version of the Taylor Force bill on Monday night, weakened version though it may be. We especially praise two coalition leaders, Avigdor Liberman and Naftali Bennett, for standing up to the prime minister’s delaying tactics; and Elazar Stern, who wrote the original draft of the bill, and his co-sponsor, Avi Dichter. That’s four different parties represented.
The new bill is aimed at stopping the Palestinian Authority from giving terrorists and their families monthly stipends. The Knesset bill is modeled along the American Taylor Force Act passed by Congress in March – also with bipartisan support – that cuts all US aid to the PA until it stops paying terrorists and their families.
This week, Australia gave its support as well, redirecting $10 million away from the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund over concern that the money was being used by the PA to pay terrorists to kill.
Though it may be weaker than the Taylor Force Act, the Knesset law passed this week will require the government to deduct NIS 1.2 billion a year that the PA pays terrorists – money Israel withholds from the taxes and tariffs it collects for the Palestinians. The American law, on the other hand, requires the US government to hold back all discretionary funds for aid.
The Israeli legislation was nicknamed the anti-pay-for-slay bill, but it’s not some jingo that makes for a good headline. This is life and death. This is a war being waged against all Israelis, wherever they live – but not just Israelis.
Who was Taylor Force? The 28-year-old from Lubbock, Texas, loved listening to country and bluegrass music; was a graduate of West Point, as was his grandfather; served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a US Army captain; and came to Israel as a business graduate student at Vanderbilt University to learn about startup companies overseas.
Force was killed at the Jaffa Port on March 8, 2016, by 21-year-old Bashar Masalha from Qalqiliya, during a 20-minute stabbing rampage which injured 10 others, including Force’s wife. Masalha was killed that night, but his family receives a monthly pension from the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund, a stipend several times what the average monthly wage is in the Palestinian territories.
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There were three other attacks in Israel that March 8, one in Petah Tikva and two in Jerusalem, in which a dozen Israeli civilians and police officers were wounded in knife and gun attacks.
Mahmoud Abbas’s party Fatah, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine all issued statements praising the attacks. Fatah said that such attacks would continue “so long as Israel does not believe in the two-state solution and ending its occupation,” and Hamas praised the attacks as “heroic operations.”
That was two years ago. But it hasn’t stopped. It’s right there, across the Internet and television airwaves, not just on Hamas channels but on those operated by the PA as well. Seek martyrdom, children are taught, conduct a “heroic operation,” be a man and kill a Jew today.
After the Knesset bill was passed, Palestinian officials emphasized that the PA will continue to pay stipends to prisoners and their families. Just last week, according to Palestinian Media Watch, official PA TV broadcast a song to pregnant Palestinians saying “your fetus will be a martyr for Palestine.”
How much longer?
It is now the turn of others to stand up and do the right thing. Follow the example of the US, Australia and Israel and call out the incitement and lies. Hold the PA’s feet to the fire and ask why killers or their families are being paid.
Stuart Force, Taylor’s father, came to Israel to watch the Knesset vote on the bill. As he told The Jerusalem Post
’s Gil Hoffman, “Hopefully this will be the first step to ending terror, and maybe it will make the European Union and Canada check where their money is going.”
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