WASHINGTON — A congressional bill that would compel the Palestinian Authority to end its compensation program for the families of convicted terrorists in Israel with the threat of an aid cut will reach a critical vote in the House Foreign Affairs Committee next Wednesday.
A mark-up vote on the Taylor Force Act is expected to pass with broad bipartisan support, clearing the way for full vote on the House floor.
The Palestinian Authority passionately opposes the bill, claiming that its “martyr” compensation scheme benefits generations of families that include those of legitimate combatants in the Palestinian struggle for independence. Israel argues that the program is a perverse incentive for Palestinian violence against innocent civilians.
In principle, US President Donald Trump and his administration have condemned the program. However, they have stopped short of endorsing the Taylor Force Act, cognizant of PA opposition and the effects its passage might have on their effort to reboot the Middle East peace process.
The bill is named after an American Army veteran murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv last year. If passed, the PA would have to end its compensation program, which provides monthly stipends to Palestinians convicted of murder or terrorism in Israel relative to the length of their prison sentences.
After negotiating some wiggle room into the bill, granting the PA time to phase out the program, Democrats have endorsed the GOP-drafted legislation wholeheartedly. It enjoys support from top Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and the backing of America’s largest Israel advocacy organization, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Ambassador Danny Ayalon calls for supporting the Taylor Force Act to stop the Palestinian Authority’s financing of terrorists. (YouTube/DannyAyalon)