The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has condemned United States Senators after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the Taylor Force Act for consideration by the U.S. Senate.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas chaired a Saturday meeting of the PLO Executive Committee to review the U.S. Senate decision. On Monday, Fatah’s Bethlehem Branch posted a statement on its Facebook page which called the proposed law an “unacceptable act” that will “negatively affect everything that is connected to the Palestinians’ rights”.
The bill, named after a former U.S. Army officer and West Point graduate who was killed in a Palestinian stabbing attack in 2016 in Tel Aviv, will substantially cut U.S. funding to the PA if it continues to pay salaries to terrorists and allowances to their families.
The PLO Executive Committee said it would “continue its national, moral, and humanitarian responsibility” towards Palestinians and their families convicted of terrorist offences or killed carrying out attacks while sending “a blessing of appreciation and pride” to the security prisoners currently serving time in Israeli prison.
The proposed law is expected to be voted on during the forthcoming fall Senate session, after it was approved by a 17-4 vote in committee earlier this month. It received support from both Republicans and Democrats.
The Senate committee only recently decided to vote on the bill after it became aware that the family of the murderer of Taylor Force would be receiving monthly payments from the PA for the rest of his life.
The U.S. currently gives the PA nearly $500 million in annual aid. The proposed bill would not affect the portions designated for security assistance—roughly $60 million—and for humanitarian aid. The U.S. State Department would be required to monitor the PA’s practices regarding cash payments that reward terrorism.
According to a recently published Israeli report, the PA’s 2017 budget for payments to Palestinians in Israeli prisons and so-called “families of martyrs” is $153.4 million, a 13 percent increase compared to 2016 and equal to half the foreign aid the PA expects to receive this year.
[Photo: BICOM ]