Former U.S. Army officer Taylor Force was killed on March 8, 2016 while travelling in Tel Aviv, Israel with a group of Vanderbilt University graduate students. Taylor was attacked and killed by Basha Masalha, a Palestinian citizen of Israel. Masalha’s spree left 11 others seriously injured, including Taylor’s wife, a Russian tourist, a pregnant woman and other innocent bystanders. Israeli police killed Masalha onsite.
After the attack, some Palestinians celebrated Masalha’s martyrdom and the Palestinian group Hamas took credit for the attack on its website saying, “Hamas celebrates the martyr that has ascended through these operations, and confirms that the pure blood will, God willing, be the fuel for escalating the intifada.”
Imagine the pain that Taylor Force’s family, including his injured wife, experienced when they learned that the Palestinian Authority is rewarding Basha Masalha’s family for the attack. Israeli government officials have confirmed that the family of 22-year-old Bashar Masalha is receiving funds from the Palestinian Authority as a reward for killing Taylor Force and injuring 11 other innocent civilians. In total, the Palestinian Authority paid out over $347 million to terrorists and their families in 2017.
The Palestinian Authority currently pays about $580 per month to the families of terrorists who have been sentenced to three to five years in Israeli prisons. Families of Palestinians committing more severe crimes receive up to five times that amount for the rest of their lives. The Authority pays higher rates if the terrorist is married, if he has children, if he lives in Jerusalem, or if he’s an Israeli citizen.
Rewarding families of terrorists has become standard operating procedure for terrorist supporting states and organizations like the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which are actively working to destroy Israel and kill Americans and Israelis alike.
The United States sends almost $600 million of aid each year to the Palestinian Authority to fund humanitarian activities, but the Palestinian Authority turns around and uses portions of this aid to fund individuals and families orchestrating and carrying out terror attacks. This is anathema and simply cannot continue. U.S. aid should go toward supporting American interests and furthering values congruent to our national interest.
Congress is finally on the verge of rectifying this injustice through legislation named in honor of Taylor Force. H.R. 1164, the “Taylor Force Act,” passed the U.S. House of Representatives last December and now will be voted on this week as part of the Omnibus federal spending bill. There is significant bi-partisan support in the Senate, with widespread Republican support along with support from some Democrats including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Cardin, Coons, Kaine, Menendez, and Markey, voting in favor of the bill last year in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The “Taylor Force Act” cuts off U.S. taxpayer dollars currently provided to the Palestinian Authority until the U.S. State Department certifies that the Palestinian Authority has terminated payments to individuals or families for acts of terrorism.
The family of Taylor Force and the thousands of other American families affected by acts of terrorism should never have to worry that their own tax dollars will ultimately wind up in the hands of the very terrorist networks and families that took their loved ones.
It is time for Congress to pass the Taylor Force Act and send it to President Trump’s desk in order to immediately stop the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars into the hands of terrorists looking to kill Americans.