On September 28, 2016, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced legislation “that would cut off that would cut off US funding to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay monetary rewards to terrorists and their families.” Graham told The Algemeiner:
“Hamas is an out and out terrorist organization and the PA has a fairly good working relationship with the Israelis when it comes to security, but we’ve got to cross this bridge…American dollars are going to a government that literally rewards people for killing their neighbors. And until we get that addressed, I don’t think the peace process will ever move forward.” (from “Veteran Republican Senator Lindsey Graham: Peace Won’t Come Until Palestinian Authority Stops Incentivizing Terrorism”)
The announcement of this U.S. legislation came just prior to the report that the U.K. had already moved forward with similar action with the British government’s Department for International Development reportedly freezing part of its aid to the Palestinian Authority over concerns the aid was being used to fund salaries for convicted Palestinian terrorists.
Senator Graham’s legislation (S.3414 in the 114th Congress, 2015-16) is named the “Taylor Force Act,” in honor of Taylor Force, the 28-year-old West Point graduate who was murdered in a stabbing attack carried out by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv in March 2016. The legislation has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was cosponsored by nine other Republican members of the Senate.
Please click here to read the first version text of this legislation which indicates the purpose to “condition assistance to the West Bank and Gaza on steps by the Palestinian Authority to end violence and terrorism against Israeli citizens.”
The introduction of this legislation comes amidst growing speculation that the Obama administration will spring a diplomatic “November surprise” on Israel — a “Hail Mary” play designed to score some foreign policy achievement before the clock runs out on the Obama era. Anxiety among Israel supporters over such speculations increased with the harsh rebuke issued by the White House this past week on Israel’s increased building in the West Bank:
“White House spokesman Joshua Earnest ‘strongly condemned’ Israel’s approval of 98 new housing units in the West Bank settlement of Shilo. A CBS correspondent noted that this phrasing is ‘usually reserved’ for terrorist attacks.” (from “Israel Braces for Obama’s Parting Gift to Palestinians”)
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called the US condemnation of building plans “disproportionate” and said that the Obama administration would be better off focusing its condemnation in Syria and the surrounding areas in the Middle East that’s “in flames” and where “men, women and children are slaughtered” — rather than obsessing over Israel building “a few dozen homes for the residents of Amona.”
With the threat of a last-ditch anti-Israel play by the Obama administration appearing more likely, worries abound that the parting gift to Palestine could fuel the perception of other governments that the U.S.’s will to support Israel is weakening. Therefore, it is all the more important for supporters of Israel to find ways to counter-act such egregious actions and effects: “It is imperative that Congress use the tools at its disposal to make this unwise path as difficult as possible for the Obama Administration.”
Along these lines, it is vitally important then that we support those in the U.S. government who stand by Israel. We must voice our support clearly and adamantly for legislation such as S.3414, which will help strengthen Israel’s ability to protect its citizens from ongoing violence and terrorism — and furthermore, will send the message out to the world that we will not let our bond with Israel weaken.
** As part of the process to extend our support for this legislation and to send the message loud and clear that we stand firmly with Israel, please click here to read and sign the petition asking the White House to “Support S.3414 Taylor Force Act, condition assistance to W Bank and Gaza on steps by PA to end violence against Israel.”
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