WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Dan Coats (R-Indiana) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) today introduced The Taylor Force Act which would require the Secretary of State to certify the Palestinian Authority has ended its policy of paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their surviving family members.
Graham, Coats, and Blunt were joined today at the legislation’s introduction by Stuart and Robbi Force, parents of Taylor Force. Taylor was a former U.S. Army officer who was part of a Vanderbilt University tour group visiting Israel when he was brutally stabbed and killed by a Palestinian terrorist (http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/08/middleeast/israel-violence). Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction praised the terrorist as a “heroic martyr” and the Palestinian Authority has yet to condemn the terrorist attack.
“This legislation shines a light on a very real problem,” said Senator Graham. “Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis? The Palestinians need to decide – do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them? You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts. The choice the Palestinians make will determine the type of relationship they have with the United States in the years to come.”
“To provide American taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority so that it can treat terrorists as heroes or glorious martyrs is morally unacceptable,” said Senator Coats. “Our hope is that applying this budgetary pressure will end this immoral program of rewarding and encouraging terrorists.”
“Israel is one of our closest allies and a stalwart of democracy in the Middle East,” said Senator Blunt. “It would be absolutely unconscionable to allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used by the Palestinian Authority to reward convicted terrorists for acts of violence against Israel. I urge all of my colleagues to back this effort to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable.”
“I’ve repeatedly demanded that President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority work to prevent Palestinian terrorist attacks and end all government-sponsored incitement of violence,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida). “It’s unacceptable that our taxpayer dollars are still being used by the Palestinian Authority to pay terrorists who have Israeli and American blood on their hands, and to brainwash young Palestinians with hatred for the Jewish people. The U.S. should condition assistance to the Palestinian Authority on it stopping these despicable practices.”
“The United States should hold Palestinian leadership fully accountable for continuing to incite violence against Israeli and American citizens and provide financial support to terrorists and their families,” said Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois). This is a no-brainer that’s critical to encouraging the emergence of a credible partner for peace with Israel, a fellow democracy and our closest ally in the Middle East, yet this Administration refuses to do it.”
“This bill stands for a simple principle: U.S. taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund terror against our own citizens or our ally Israel,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas). “The American people and the Israelis believe in helping the Palestinians build a better and more prosperous society. But that better society will never be possible if Palestinian leaders continue to funnel cash to terrorists and their families. The Obama administration and future administrations should hold Palestinian leadership accountable on this issue and tell them that as long as they continue to fund terror, they should not expect another dollar of U.S. economic assistance.”
“Earlier this year, Texas native Taylor Force was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv,” said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “Taylor's murder is a grim reminder that the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism targets Americans and Israelis, Christians and Jews, indiscriminately. Our unshakable alliance with Israel will remain our strength as we face this threat together. The legislation introduced today will put the Palestinian Authority on notice that American taxpayers will not continue to fund them unless they take concrete steps to end the abhorrent practice of rewarding terrorists and their families. I'm proud to stand with Senators Graham and Coats as well as my other colleagues in solidarity against not only the terrorists attacking our citizens, but also all who fund and enable them.”
• Requires the Secretary of State to certify to Congress the Palestinian Authority is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the attack on Taylor Force;
• Calls on the Palestinian Authority to publicly condemn such acts of violence and is taking steps to investigate and cooperate in investigations bringing perpetrators to justice; and
• Terminates payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being convicted of terrorist acts, to any individual who died committing a terrorist act, or to family members of such individuals.