JERUSALEM, Israel – A House subcommittee unanimously passed a bill that paves the way for cutting U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority if it doesn't stop paying salaries to terrorists who kill Israelis – what some call "pay to slay."
What would you say if you found out your tax dollars were indirectly going to pay Palestinian Arab terrorists to murder Israeli Jews and others? That's just what's happening.
"Since 2003, it has been Palestinian law to reward Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails with a monthly paycheck. Palestinian leadership also pays the families of Palestinian prisoners and suicide bombers. These policies incentivize terrorism," Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., said.
The practice is known as #pay-to-slay.
The Taylor Force Act gets its name from the American combat veteran murdered while on a school trip to Israel.
The 21-year-old terrorist behind the brutal stabbing of Force was killed by police, but he was praised by the Palestinian Authority government and his family received lifelong financial compensation.
The kinds of compensation include the following:
Pension for life triple the average salary in P.A. areas.
Free tuition, health insurance and clothing allowance for life, plus a free monthly stipend.
And that's where this current legislation draws the line. Royce says stopping that practice – courtesy of $300 million U.S. tax dollars every year – is what's behind the Taylor Force Act.
"With this legislation, we are forcing the P.A. to choose between U.S. assistance and these morally reprehensible policies," he said.
Despite earlier pressure from Congress to stop these payments, the Palestinian Authority has actually raised the amount paid to terrorists whom they consider martyrs. The payments are on a sliding scale. The more successful the attack, the bigger the payout.
In the 2017 P.A. budget, money to convicted terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons increased by 13 percent and 4 percent more went to their families – more than 30,000 recipients in all.
This year, direct funding of terrorism has reached $355 million and yet the P.A. is largely funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars.
"The Palestinian Authority claims to its people that they have a right to kill Israelis, literally, a right to kill Israelis," Palestinian Media Watch Director Itamar Marcus told CBN News. "Israeli civilians, women, babies and they claim that a U.N. decision from the 1970s, which said the Palestinians have the right to use all means to gain their rights, means they have a right to kill civilians. This is the way the Palestinian Authority interprets it."
Marcus said while Israel has means to crack down on terrorists, the West can play a major role.
"The only way this will stop is if the leadership of the Palestinian Authority is forced by the international community to completely change the messaging," he explained. "The international community can force them. The Palestinian Authority is so dependent on foreign aid. The United States gives them foreign aid. The European Union gives them foreign aid. Most of the Western European countries, they have the power to stop this."
The House Foreign Affairs Committee passage of the Taylor Force Act aims to do just that. The measures are expected to pass the full House and move on to the Senate.