The Palestinian Authority’s use of American taxpayer dollars to fund terrorists and their families is “morally repugnant and must be stopped,” a US senator told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.
“To provoke, reward and incentivize terrorist acts through financial rewards is one of the most outrageous things I’ve ever come across,” Republican Senator Dan Coats of Indiana said.
In an effort to halt the phenomenon of Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israeli prisons and family members of so-called “martyrs” receiving American money via the PA, Coats is seeking to add a provision to the 2017 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act that would restrict funding to the “Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization and any successor or affiliated organizations,” the senator told The Algemeiner.
Such expansive language is necessary, the senator said, because of trickery the PA has engaged in since a past attempt by Congress to limit the aid it receives from the US over similar concerns.
“We learned that the PA was playing a shell game and moving money to the PLO,” Coats said.
Coats — a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — stated, “We are pushing on all cylinders here to expose this and get my colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives aware of what is going on here. And we are pushing the State Department and the administration, including the president, to take direct action. All hands are on deck and it needs to be done now, because we’ve learned tragically that this kind of thing is resulting in the deaths of Israelis and this will continue until we stop it.”
According to Coats, fear about the stability of the PA — led from Ramallah by President Mahmoud Abbas — has prevented US action on this matter in the past.
“The narrative has been, ‘Let’s not stir the pot. Let’s not stir up the conflict between Israel and the PA any more than it already is. Abbas is hanging on by a shoestring. Chaos could take place if they don’t get the aid.’ But there comes a point in time when that risk has to be taken…To me, there is no rational reason or excuse not to take direct action on this, even if chaos ensues with the PA, which is chaotic already,” Coats said.
Coats named Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Republican Congressman Ed Royce of California as partners in the bid to get the new provision passed into law. “It has been a team effort,” Coats said. “We think we’re making real progress, but I’m just concerned every day that I’m going to pick up the paper or hear the news in the morning that there has been yet another attack in Israel. The gravity of the situation means that a number of us are just going to put our hearts and souls into this to try to get this done, sooner rather than later.”
Furthermore, Coats — who served as US ambassador to Germany between 2001 and 2005 — expressed hope that “other nations will see that we’re taking the lead on this.” Recently, Coats noted, a German parliamentarian raised the issue at the Bundestag.
In January, Coats, 73, will be retiring after a long political career that saw him serve in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Asked whether Israel can rely on Congress no matter who sits in the White House, Coats said, “Yes, because of its incredible story…Israel is our only totally reliable ally in the Middle East and it is critical to the US, both strategically and morally.”
Watch a video of Senator Coats discussing his proposed provision below:
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal