WASHINGTON – Your tax dollars are being indirectly used to pay Palestinian terrorists to murder Israeli Jews and others. Now lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have had enough and are ready to do something about it.
The Taylor Force Act, which already passed the House, is expected to be voted on in the Senate next week.
The bill cuts US funding for the Palestinian Authority unless it ends its practice of "pay-to-slay."
Last year, the P.A. had 30,000 people on its pay-to-slay payroll, and this year it will pay out $355 million to terrorists and their families.
The bill moving through Congress is named for Taylor Force, an American combat veteran murdered while visiting Israel.
The terrorist who brutally stabbed Force was killed by police, but the P.A. praised the jihadist for his murderous act and his family is now set for life.
It's a chilling practice that American lawmakers like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, say must stop.
"Palestinian security forces are worth America investing in; we'll keep doing that. We have Americans doing some of the training. I've seen them go from really bad to much, much better. They do cooperate with Israel, but the only way for this relationship to get better is for it to get better," said Graham, who went on a fact-finding trip to the Middle East this week.
"It bothers me greatly that the Palestinian Authority would be paying its young people to become terrorists, so you can see this bill go forward," he continued. "Having said that, I stand ready to work with the Palestinians. I would like to give them more assistance, but Taylor Force has to be dealt with as a pre-condition for me."
This comes amid another ongoing controversy between the US and Palestinian leaders over millions in US funding for the United Nations agency that deals with Palestinian refugees.
President Donald Trump said he would cut funding for the UN Relief and Works agency if P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas doesn't return to the negotiating table – and he's followed through on that threat, slashing $65 million from the program.
The fund was established nearly 70 years ago to help poverty-stricken Palestinians. But critics say after several decades, Palestinian refugees should no longer exist and that the agency has been used to push an anti- Israel agenda.
Abbas essentially threatened more terrorism at the UN this week if the US doesn't restore the funding.
Abbas has also vowed not to meet with US peace negotiators until the Trump administration reverses its decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley says that will never happen. She also sent Abbas another message at the UN this week, responding to a PA statement that Palestinian leaders are not the problem in the Middle East.
"I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths," she said during a UN Security Council meeting.
Tensions between the US and Palestinian Authority will likely remain high as the Senate takes up the Taylor Force Act next week.
It has support from both sides of the aisle and is expected to pass.