In what will surely be music to the ears of the pro-Israel communtiy, the Palestinian Authority announced this week its renouncing of all U.S. aid and financial assistance.
Given the Palestinian Authority’s sordid jihad-supporting history, the reason given — avoiding legal liability for U.S. court decisions demanding payment for terror attack victims — ought to be unsurprising. Per The Jerusalem Post:
The Palestinian Authority has formally renounced all financial assistance from the United States, in order to avoid liability for US court decisions demanding millions in payment for terrorist attacks.
PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah informed the Trump Administration of the decision in a letter he sent to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo…
At issue is the 2018 Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, which Congress passed into law in October 2018 and goes into effect at the end of this month.
It ties American financial assistance to the Palestinians to the issue of legal jurisdiction within the US.
Per The Post, Hamdallah taunted that, “as of January 31, 2019, [the Palestinian Authority] fully disclaims and no longer wishes to accept any form of assistance referenced in” the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act.
Well, to borrow from 2004’s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, that’s a bold strategy, Cotton — let’s see if it works out for them.
Because here is the kicker. As The Daily Wire’s Frank Camp reported, President Trump in March signed into law the Taylor Force Act — which actually already halted all American aid to the Palestinian Authority.
The Taylor Force Act demands that the Palestinian Authority ceases payment of “salaries to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists, is an incentive to commit acts of terror.” The law is named after Taylor Force, a 29-year-old American who was stabbed to death in 2016 by a Palestinian man while in Tel Aviv.
The Palestinian Authority has a long history of rewarding terrorists and their families with monthly stipends, and lawmakers in the United States have long debated withholding funding to the PA until they officially denounce and discontinue the practice.
The text of the Taylor Force Act does provide for some exceptions, such as “assistance for wastewater projects not exceeding $5,000,000 in any one fiscal year; and … assistance for any other program, project, or activity that provides vaccinations to children not exceeding $500,000 in any one fiscal year.”
One major question, moving forward, will be how the “news” of a Palestinian rebuffing of (largely non-existent) U.S. aid will affect the Trump administration’s upcoming proposed peace plan for Israel and the Palestinian-Arabs. The Post reports that Jared Kushner will be taking the lead in promoting the thus-far unannounced plan, in advance of the 2020 presidential election. Many pro-Israel hawks, such as Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes, are already dreading Kushner’s proposed plan. On Wednesday night, Pipes wrote in The Wall Street Journal:
So far the administration’s hints have aroused minimal concern in the American pro-Israel community, which blithely but wrongly trusts Mr. Trump as one of their own. But a plan as inimical to Israel as Mr. Trump’s appears to be will have major negative implications not only for the Jewish state but for Mr. Trump’s re-election hopes. Therefore, Americans who support Israel and Republicans hoping for the president’s re-election both need to protest and obstruct the prospect of this misbegotten “deal of the century.”
It is always a strong possibility that Palestinian-Arab obdurateness, in terms of refusing to even come to the negotiating table, will paradoxically relieve pro-Israel hawks of any fears they may have.