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Taylor Force Act, which Penalizes PA for Terror Support, Becomes Law with Bipartisan Backing

The Taylor Force Act, which would cut funding to the Palestinian Authority as long as it pays rewards to terrorists, passed with bipartisan support as part of the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that will keep the United States government operating until the end of the fiscal year, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

The bill is named after Taylor Force, an American veteran, who was stabbed to death in a terror attack two year ago. In the immediate aftermath of Force’s killing, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas defied then-Vice President Joe Biden and refused to condemn the attack.  Fatah, the main Palestinian political party, which is headed by Abbas, praised Force’s killer as “heroic” on its official Facebook page. The killer, Bashar Masalha, was also referred to as a “martyr” on official PA television, qualifying his family to receive benefits from the PA.

The Taylor Force Act would end U.S. funding of the PA until it stops paying terrorists and their families stipends, often referred to as the “pay to slay” program. These monthly stipends, which amount to about half of what the PA receives in foreign budgetary assistance, increase according to the seriousness of the crime. Exceptions to the law would be made for payments made for water, childhood vaccination programs, and Palestinian hospitals in what is called “East Jerusalem.”

“Passage of the Taylor Force Act will serve as a shot across the bow to President Abbas, as he must be held accountable for the Palestinian Authority’s record of incitement and subsidizing of terror. It is my hope that by enacting this bill, we can put an end to the Palestinian Authority’s disturbing practice all while honoring the memory and sacrifice of Taylor Force,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R – Texas) took credit for co-sponsoring the bill, praising the Taylor Force Act with halting “U.S. taxpayer dollars from going to the Palestinian Authority if it continues its policy of paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their families.”

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon also praised the law ahead of its passage on Twitter, writing, “The passage of the Taylor Force Act is an important step towards finally ending the despicable practice of pay to slay & ensuring accountability in the Palestinian Authority. All countries must demand that the PA invest in a future for Palestinians, not pay terrorists’ salaries.”

“The bipartisan measure passed today will send a very clear warning to the Palestinian Authority: the double-game is over and terrorism will not be tolerated, not in any form. Those who enable, inspire, or incite, will also pay a price,” The Israel Project President Josh Block said. The Israel Project publishes The Tower.

[Photo: soccerdhg / Flickr]