News and Commentary

Report: United States Halts Aid To Palestinian Authority

According to i24NEWS, the United States has halted financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.

The funding has allegedly been suspended because of the The Taylor Force Act, which was signed into law in March by President Trump as part of the $1.3 trillion spending bill.

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 PA denies that such payments are so-called “pay-for-slay” salaries, claiming they are a form of welfare.

However, according to Yosef Kuperwasser of Tablet:

The Palestinian Authority has paid out some … $1.12 billion over the past four years to terrorists and the families of terrorists who were killed while carrying out terror attacks. … The Palestinians’ own budgetary documents clearly state that these payments to the Terrorists are salaries and not welfare payments.

i24NEWS reports that according to an unnamed Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide, “US funding to the West Bank and Gaza is on hold pending an administration review.”

Additionally, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson allegedly told i24NEWS:

While the Taylor Force Act restricts aid to the Palestinian Authority, with very limited exceptions, the Palestinian Authority has the ability to ease those restrictions by ending the abhorrent policy of inciting violence against Americans and Israelis through payments to terrorists and their families.

The Taylor Force Act, as written in the spending bill, reads in part (some citations omitted for clarity):

Congress … calls on the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any successor or affiliated organizations to stop payments for acts of terrorism by individuals who are imprisoned after being fairly tried and convicted for acts of terrorism and by individuals who died committing acts of terrorism and to repeal the laws authorizing such payments;

…Funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for assistance under chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 … and available for assistance for the West Bank and Gaza that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority may only be made available for such purpose if, except as provided in subsection (d), not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of State certifies in writing to the appropriate congressional committees that the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any successor or affiliated organizations—

(A) are taking credible steps to end acts of violence against Israeli citizens and United States citizens that are perpetrated or materially assisted by individuals under their jurisdictional control, such as the March 2016 attack that killed former United States Army officer Taylor Force, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;

(B) have terminated payments for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens and United States citizens to any individual, after being fairly tried, who has been imprisoned for such acts of terrorism and to any individual who died committing such acts of terrorism, including to a family member of such individuals;

(C) have revoked any law, decree, regulation, or document authorizing or implementing a system of compensation for imprisoned individuals that uses the sentence or period of incarceration of an individual imprisoned for an act of terrorism to determine the level of compensation paid, or have taken comparable action that has the effect of invalidating any such law, decree, regulation, or document; and

(D) are publicly condemning such acts of violence and are taking steps to investigate or are cooperating in investigations of such acts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Some exceptions have been made, such as “payments made to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network … 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,” according to the text of the law.

If the report from i24NEWS is accurate, it seems that until the Palestinian Authority answers the demands of the Taylor Force Act, the United States will continue to withhold aid.

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