By Jackson Richman
A measure to defund U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority is expected to be added to an omnibus spending bill scheduled to be passed by Friday to avert a third government shutdown this year, as first reported by Jewish Insider.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced the Taylor Force Act, told the publication that the measure to strip U.S. taxpayer funds to the P.A. for its “pay-to-slay” program for terrorists and their families will be included in the $1.3 trillion appropriations legislation, which the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on this evening, soon to be followed by the Senate.
The U.S. gives $400 million annually to the P.A.
The bill is named after a former American army officer stabbed to death in March 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv. The act passed the House of Representatives last December. Some supporters of the legislation, like the the Zionist Organization of America, expressed concern about exemptions that were introduced for certain infrastructure projects in the P.A., and other provisions which deemed the measure weakened.
The ZOA was unavailable for immediate comment on the latest development. The Republican Jewish Coalition posted an enthusiastic tweet with the breaking news. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Orthodox Union each applauded the move.
— RJC (@RJC) March 21, 2018
However, the Senate version is stronger than the House’s. For example, unlike the lower chamber’s version, the Senate’s contains no sunset clause and only one exemption – for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, a grouping of six hospitals which independently operates from the P.A. and receives a portion of the annual $75 million the U.S. gives to provide power and certain medical services to Palestinians. However, there will be at least one other exemption in the omnibus version – for $37 million toward water treatment, according to Jewish Insider.
“Although I would prefer a floor debate to further educate the public about the immorality of the Palestinians and their barbaric incentivization of the murder of innocent civilians, the most essential thing is that the Taylor Force Act finally be passed,” Sarah Stern, the Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, told The National Discourse in a statement. “The willful blindness that the United States and the Western world has been giving to the Palestinians for 25 years, and their systematic incitement to despise and to murder American and Israeli civilians, and their brazen system of ‘pay for slay,’ has finally got to be put to an end.”
Stern added, “The Palestinians have been playing all of us by shielding their murderous actions under the phrase of a ‘peace process.’ One asks how this behavior can possibly fall under the banner of ‘Peace?'”
“The Palestinians, and the Arab world in general, place a great premium on honor, and a significant reduction in their funding will be a tremendous wake-up call that not everyone in the world can continue to be duped by them,” Stern concluded.
In addition to the Taylor Force Act, among many provisions, the omnibus bill is expected to include $1.6 billion toward border security, a low-income housing tax credit, and a measure to fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, according to Politico‘s Jake Sherman.