The American Israel Public Affairs Committee expressed its strong support on Wednesday for the Taylor Force Act, legislation which would freeze U.S. financial support to the Palestinian Authority as long as the PA offers salaries to convicted terrorists and their families. AIPAC wrote that they hoped that the legislation would "send a clear message to the Palestinian Authority: Stop these payments to terrorists and their families or your assistance will be cut."
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The bill was first proposed in February, but over the last few weeks it has been amended to make a distinction between money that directly benefits the PA and money that supports hospitals and humanitarian projects in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The new version of the bill was presented on Tuesday.
AIPAC urged members of the Senate Foreign Relations committee to support it when it comes before them Thursday. Lobbying in a series of tweets, the committee said, "The Taylor Force Act does not affect U.S. funding for security cooperation, nor does it cut humanitarian programs if the U.S. government can certify that the PA is taking credible steps to end violence against Israelis and Americans."
Three weeks ago, two former U.S. officials who had worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations had expressed support for the bill during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing on the matter, but they also had advised the Senate to make some changes to it to ensure that it won't hurt Palestinian civilians and it won't lead to a deterioration in Israel's security.
The bill is named after Taylor Force, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen who was stabbed to death in an attack in Jaffa. Force, who was visiting Israel with fellow graduate students and faculty from Vanderbilt University, had survived frontline combat duties in Afghanistan and Iraq with the U.S. Army.