One of President Trump’s objectives during his May trip to the Middle East was to convince Palestinian Authority President Abbas to stop paying “blood money” to terrorists. Sadly, the PA continues to deliver funds to people who have committed terrorist acts, or to their families, and the money is coming from U.S. aid — our tax dollars.
When they met privately, Trump lost his patience with Abbas. “You tricked me in D.C.,” the president was reported to have hollered at the stunned Abbas. “You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement.” First reported by an anonymous source, these comments were subsequently confirmed by the PA.
The Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs (JCPA) reports: “According to the PA budget, salaries to incarcerated and released terrorists will amount in 2017 to 552 million shekels ($153.4 million), a rise of 13 percent over the original budget of 2016 and 11 percent more than the actual expenditure in 2016 (revised budget). The money will be transferred to the Palestinian National Fund, the financial arm of the PLO, which was designated by Israel as a terror organization due to its involvement in paying terrorist salaries. … Altogether, the expenditures for supporting terror in the 2017 Palestinian Authority budget is 1.240 billion shekels ($344 million). This sum constitutes 7 percent of the total budget, similar to the last several years, but amounts to 49.6 percent of foreign aid received by the PA due to diminishing amount of external aid expected in 2017.”
The United States is the country that gives the Palestinian Authority most of its foreign aid — about $400 million a year, according to the Congressional Research Service, which means that our tax dollars represent about 58 percent of all the aid given to the PA and reflect more than all the money going to terrorists.
Israel National News reports that terrorists can now receive over $3,000 a month from the PA after they commit terror attacks. The 19-year old Palestinian who murdered three Israelis in cold blood as they sat for Shabbos dinner two weeks ago was promised a lifetime salary of $3,120 a month — more than 10 times the average income in the PA and an excellent salary which works to incite more people to kill innocent Jews.
While this stands in sharp contrast to PA commitments made as part of the Oslo Accords, it does mesh with the Palestinian tradition of saying one thing about terrorism in English and the opposite in Arabic to its own people.
There is hope coming out of Congress, where the Taylor Force Act would sever U.S. economic aid to the PA if it continues payments to families of terrorists. The bill is named after Taylor Force, an American Army veteran who served tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq. While visiting Israel as part of his Vanderbilt University MBA program, he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist who also stabbed ten other people who survived. Police had to kill the terrorist to stop his rampage, and his relatives now receive monthly payments equal to several times the average Palestinian wage.
The bill has not yet received support from AIPAC which worries that it only has one Democratic Party sponsor (Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia). Just as they did with the 2012 and 2016 RNC platforms, AIPAC objects to any bill that makes one party seem more pro-Israel than the other (despite the fact that the GOP is much more pro-Israel than the Democrats).The Trump administration has not yet committed to the act as of yet.
Speaking to the recent Christians United for Israel annual summit, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer highlighted his government’s support for the bill. “I can assure you that Israel is not the slightest bit concerned that the Taylor Force Act will pass,” he said. “Israel would be concerned if the Taylor Force Act didn’t pass.”
Meanwhile, Israel has taken its own action, since July 2016 deducting the sum the PA pays to terrorists and their families from its monthly transfer of tax fees to the PA government
In Congress, the bill will probably come up sometime before the High Holidays, so if you believe your tax dollars shouldn’t be used to pay blood money to terrorists, I urge you to contact your representatives and senators and urge them to support the Taylor Force Act.