Congress Looks to Restrict U.S. Aid to Palestinian Terrorists

Measure would bar U.S. funds from being used to pay terrorists

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas / Getty Images
• September 1, 2017 12:40 pm


A new congressional measure would restrict U.S. aid to the Palestinian government by barring any American taxpayer dollars from being doled out to Palestinian terrorists currently imprisoned in Israel, according to language of the measure obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

A small amendment in Congress's yearly appropriations bill would stop the U.S. government from giving aid to the Palestinian Authority if it uses these funds to honor terrorists and pay salaries to those militants imprisoned in Israel for carrying out past attacks.

The Taylor Force Act, first introduced in 2016, would cut millions in U.S. aid to the Palestinian government until it shows proof these payments have stopped.

The appropriations amendment, while similar to the Taylor Force Act, provides a quick fix to the problem by banning all payments by the Palestinians to terrorists as a precondition for continued American aid.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), who authored the amendment, told the Washington Free Beacon that in past years members of Congress have not been able to offer amendments to the massive appropriations bill that funds the U.S. government and global priorities.

With amendments now a possibility, DeSantis said he took quick action to address the Palestinian government's payments to terrorists.

"It is beyond maddening that American taxpayer dollars flow to an entity that pays the families of terrorists and that adorns their streets and stadiums with the names of terrorists," DeSantis said. "We finally have the perfect opportunity to stop this and we must seize the moment."

The measure stipulates that any U.S. assistance to the Palestinian government cannot be used for the "purpose of recognizing or otherwise honoring individual who commit, or have committed acts of terrorism, including payments to any family member of such individuals," according to a copy of the amendment obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Unlike the Taylor Force Act, which is still being considered by Congress, if DeSantis' amendment is approved as part of the larger spending bill, it will immediately become the law of the land.

While the Taylor Force Act has received broad bipartisan support in Congress, it is unclear if the Trump administration would sign the legislation.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has advocated boosting aid to the Palestinian Authority by around five percent, bringing the total funds to around $215 million.

Tillerson came under fire earlier this year for inaccurately claiming that the Palestinian government had ceased using U.S. aid for payments to terrorists. The State Department caused further uproar by claiming in a recent report that Israel is to blame for terror attacks in the region.

The Palestinian government, for its part, has vowed to continue these payments, which go to the families of convicted terrorists and militants who are imprisoned in Israel. Palestinian officials maintain that these payments are necessary.

The proposed increase in aid to the Palestinians, who continue to sponsor and incite terror attacks on Israel, sparked opposition from Democrats and Republicans who criticized Tillerson for seeking to increase this aid while cutting the overall State Department budget by more than 30 percent. This includes a massive funding cut to overseas security for U.S. facilities, a move that has prompted security concerns.

The Palestinian government also continues to formally honor terrorists and promote violence against Israeli citizens.


Published under: Congress, Israel, USAID