Sen. Lindsey Graham reintroduces bill to nix aid to Palestinian Authority for paying terrorists

(JTA) — Sen. Lindsey Graham said he is reintroducing a bill that would cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority for paying rewards to terrorists and their family members.

Graham, R-S.C, made the announcement Tuesday about the Taylor Force Act, whose introduction he had sponsored in September. He will reintroduce the bill with nine co-sponsors, all Republicans.

The bill, which is named for an American stabbed to death in Israel last year by a Palestinian terrorist, would condition aid to the Palestinian Authority on the government body condemning and taking steps to prevent acts of violence against U.S. and Israeli citizens, and ceasing payments to terrorists and their families.

In 2016, the U.S. allotted $317 million to the West Bank and Gaza, according to a partial report by the United States Agency for International Development. The figure does not include security funding.

The Orthodox Union announced its support for the bill in a statement released Tuesday.

“It is outrageous that the Palestinian Authority uses U.S. financial assistance to reward Palestinian terrorists and their families for murdering Israelis, and the United States must stop being an unwitting party to this practice,” said Nathan Diament, the executive director of the Orthodox umbrella group. “We commend Sen. Graham and the bill’s co-sponsors for taking a stand against violence and terrorism and supporting Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East.”

The practice of paying “martyrs” and their families dates back decades and survived the Oslo peace process launched in 1993. Last year, Israel began to withhold taxes owed to the Palestinian Authority commensurate with Israeli estimates of the compensated amounts.

The State Department told Bloomberg News in 2016 that it shared with Israel the same practice under a law in place since 2014: deducting from payments amounts commensurate with compensation provided by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists and their families.

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