The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday approved the Taylor Force Act, in a major step for legislation that seeks to cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if the PA continues its payments to terrorists and their families.
Approved in a 17-4 vote, the bill received the backing of all the committee’s Republicans as well as several leading Democrats, including Maryland’s Sen. Ben Cardin, New Jersey’s Sen. Bob Menendez and Virginia’s Sen. Tim Kaine.
“This legislation will force the Palestinian Authority to make a choice,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. “Either face the consequences of stoking violence or end this detestable practice immediately.”
The approval by the Senate committee comes after the legislation was bolstered with new provisions that make it more difficult for the PA to receive U.S. aid while also paying salaries to terrorists and their families. The new provisions add stricter conditions on American and European aid to the PA, urging donor nations to “cease direct budgetary support until the Palestinian Authority stops all payments incentivizing terror.”
The bill would cut off all U.S. aid to the PA until the State Department confirms that salary payments to convicted terrorists have ceased. The new provisions also obligate the PA to revoke “any law, decree, regulation, or document authorizing or implementing a system of compensation” to terrorists and their families.
The legislation is named after a U.S. Army veteran who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Jaffa last year.
AIPAC, the influential pro-Israel lobby, recently endorsed the Taylor Force Act, saying it hopes the new provisions will “produce a strong, bipartisan bill that will send a very clear message to the Palestinian Authority.”