US House committee unanimously passes Taylor Force Act
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Bill would halt funds to PA until it stops paying terrorists

US House committee unanimously passes Taylor Force Act

Foreign affairs panel also advances bill that would sanction foreign governments and individuals for providing financial and material support to Hamas

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Congressman Ed Royce (left) and Congrerssman Eliot Engel during the committee's hearing on Iran, September 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Congressman Ed Royce (left) and Congrerssman Eliot Engel during the committee's hearing on Iran, September 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON — The US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed the Taylor Force Act, legislation that would cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it discontinues its practice of paying monthly stipends to the families of terrorists who kill Israelis.

The legislation includes three exceptions, allowing for US funding to Palestinian water and childhood vaccination programs and to East Jerusalem hospitals.

In the same session, US lawmakers also passed two other bills designed to confront Palestinian terrorism.

The Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act, which cleared the panel with broad bipartisan support, would sanction foreign governments, entities, and individuals for providing financial and material support to the terrorist group Hamas, while the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act would also impose sanctions on foreign governments and entities that support Palestinian terrorism.

All three measures are now set to advance to the full chamber for a vote from every member of the legislative body.

“Since 2003, it has been Palestinian law to reward Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails with a monthly paycheck,” the House foreign affairs panel chairman Ed Royce said in a statement. “Palestinian leadership also pays the families of Palestinian prisoners and suicide bombers. These policies incentivize terrorism.”

The Republican lawmaker from California added: “With this legislation, we are forcing the PA to choose between US assistance and these morally reprehensible policies.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee in August passed the Taylor Force Act, which is named after a former US army officer who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while visiting Tel Aviv in March 2016.

Taylor Force, murdered in Israel by a Palestinian terrorist in March 2016, gave his name to the Taylor Force Act, legislation proposing to halt US aid to the Palestinian Authority until the latter stops paying stipends to terrorists and their families. (Facebook)

In September, it was included in a foreign operations bill that is slated for a vote by the full chamber in December. It is expected to pass.

US President Donald Trump has not yet stated whether or not he would sign the bill into law, though a White House official told The Times of Israel in July that the president supports its principal objective.

On Tuesday, an Israeli woman, whose husband and other relatives were brutally stabbed to death in a West Bank settlement this summer, lamented to Trump’s Middle East peace envoy that the family of the killer would be compensated by the PA.

If passed by Congress and signed into law, the measure would halt US funding to the PA until Ramallah stops paying stipends to Palestinian terrorists and their families.

Israel, too, has demanded that the PA stop paying these wages via intermediary organizations.

But the Palestine Liberation Organization has condemned this legislation, saying shortly after its Senate committee passage that it was “unacceptable” and would violate Palestinians’ human rights.

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