Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Tuesday urged AIPAC to “get on board” and support the Taylor Force Act, a bill introduced Tuesday to cut off US assistance to the Palestinian Authority if they continue their policy of paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their surviving family members. “We all appreciate AIPAC. I have briefed them about the bill. They supported the concept. They want some changes,” Graham said during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol. “We’re open for business but we are closed minded to doing nothing.”
AIPAC has not publicly signaled whether it will back the legislation as the pro-Israel group prefers to support measures that receive bipartisan support.
Graham expressed hope that the bill would receive bipartisan support when it comes to the floor for a vote. “If this comes to the floor, it will pass with support from both parties, and then the bill will be signed by the President,” Graham said.
“To my friends at AIPAC, this is a chance to get on board” to support legislation that is good for America, the South Carolina implored.
Stuart and Robbi Force, the parents of Taylor Force, who attended the press conference along with Senators Roy Blunt (R-MI) and Tom Cotton, Congressmen Lee Zeldin and Doug Lamborn (R-CO), and representatives of the Israeli organization One Family,
told Jewish Insider that while Congress remains highly polarized, their hope is that by having an easy-remembered name like their son on the bill, members from both parties will be able to identify with the cause on a personal level and support the bill.
The United States currently provides over $300 million in annual aid to the PA. “This is not a welfare system, but a so-called martyr system and we shouldn’t allow the killers and ruthless attackers to be recognized as martyrs in a system that we are part of,” explained Senator Blunt.
“The taxpayers’ dollars will no longer go to subsidize the murder of American citizens and Israeli citizens,” Cotton added. “To the Force family, we will do everything in our power to make this bill into law to commemorate Taylor’s memory and ensure that his sacrifice is not forgotten and has a positive legacy in the world.”
Israeli military officers have previously expressed skepticism regarding cutting off US aid to the PA. “Stability in the region includes the ability of the Palestinian Authority to pay its salaries,” Brigade General Nitzan Alon told The New York Times. “Reducing the Palestinians’ ability to pay decreases security. American aid is relevant to this issue.”
Responding to Alon’s comments, Graham noted, ”Security is never going to be achieved by paying young people to kill Taylor Force. With all due respect to the General, we are not going to give any more money to an organization that is counterproductive not only to peace but will pay a young Palestinian to kill an American who was eating dinner and studying in Israel. So I respectfully disagree and it is our money and not his.”