On Wednesday it was revealed that the new Palestinian Authority budget continues paying salaries to terrorists and families of terrorists, and was released around the same time as the U.S. passed the Taylor Force Act. The Taylor Force Act cuts off nearly all US aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues its ‘pay to slay’ policies encouraging bloodshed and murder.
In retaliation, the PA reversed its policy of hiding the payments and returned to directly and openly transferring the funds needed to the Commission of Prisoners, which pays the salaries to terrorist prisoners.
After studying the recent PA budget, Director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Itamar Marcus and Palestinian Media Watch’s Head of Legal Strategies Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch brought this change to the attention of Knesset Israel Victory Caucus (KIVC) Chair MK Oded Forer. MK Forer is expected to collaborate with his counterparts in the US Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC), especially Rep. Doug Lamborn, who introduced the Taylor Force Act, to bring this to the attention of the American authorities with the power to trigger the clauses in the law.
“That the Palestinian Authority brazenly and openly boasted of its payments to terrorists as the Taylor Force Act was being passed into law, is Mahmoud Abbas’ official response to it, and is a slap in the face to the U.S.,” MK Forer said. “This can not go unanswered and amply demonstrates the necessity of the Taylor Force Act and the similar law we will pass in the Knesset. The outrageous and shameless commitment to murder and the funding apparatus surrounding it are signs that the Palestinian Authority leadership feels immune from international reproach for its bloody policies, and this must end immediately.”
MK Forer communicated this outrage to his counterpart Rep. Lamborn and called on the two caucuses to work together to put an end to the impunity the PA has enjoyed up to now for rewarding terror.
“The Taylor Force Act was built precisely to put an end to this policy,” Rep. Lamborn said. “It seems like the Palestinian Authority did not receive the message we tried to send by passing this law, so now we have to ensure that the U.S. slashes funding to it American taxpayer money should no longer be used to provide benefits and enticements for the murder of Israelis and others. We will continue to work with both our CIVC and KIVC allies to ensure that this terrible policy becomes a thing of the past."
According to PMW, 7.47% of the PA’s operational budget is for salaries to terrorist prisoners, released terrorists, and payments to families of “martyrs” - i.e. murderers who were killed during attacks and those terroristss wounded in them. The PA’s budget categories rewarding terror equal 44% of anticipated foreign aid.
"For years the Palestinian Authority has promoted terror, glorified terror and rewarded terror," said PMW Director Marcus, "and tragically the donor countries have indirectly funded these activities by funding the PA. PMW welcomes the new approach by the members of the Israel Victory Caucuses in the US and in Israel. The first step to defeating Palestinian terror is to stop paying for it.”
According to the Taylor Force Act, within 30 days the U.S. State Department must certify to Congress whether or not the PA and PLO have stopped the payments to terrorists and their families, the so-called 'pay-for-slay program' and repealed the pay-for-slay laws. No later than 45 days after enactment (i.e. 15 days after the above certification), the State Department must report to Congress an explanation of why State was unable to certify PA/PLO compliance, plus the total amount of funds to be withheld.
The two caucuses will be working together to highlight PA non-compliance and the continuation of the PA policy of providing payments to terrorists and their families.