Graham to Introduce Bill Cutting Palestinian Aid
WASHINGTON – The office of Senator Lindsey Graham announced on Wednesday that the South Carolina Republican lawmaker would introduce legislation next week to cut off US assistance to the Palestinian Authority. “The Taylor Force Act” is named after an American Army officer who was killed in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist last year while on a global entrepreneurship study abroad program.
“This legislation would cut off funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if they continue their policy of paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their surviving family members,” according to the Graham press release.
The text of the bill has not released and Graham’s statement did not state whether he has attracted other co-sponsors or bipartisan support.
Representatives Ted Budd (R-NC) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) introduced a similar piece of legislation in the House on February 1, which would cut Palestinian aid if the Secretary of State is unable to certify that the PA has “stopped paying benefits to the families of terrorists.” The House bill has received 8 co-sponsors, all Republicans.
During the last Congressional session, Graham, Dan Coats (R-IN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) co-authored the Taylor Force Act. However, the bill never passed the Senate and received no Democratic support.
Since AIPAC generally only backs legislation that gains bipartisan support, it remains unclear what position the pro-Israel lobbying organization will take regarding this specific bill.
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.” IDF officials routinely praise security cooperation with PA forces in preventing attacks against Israeli civilians.
US assistance to the Palestinians has dropped in half from 2009 until the present day.
The issue of Palestinian aid has consistently been divisive within some corners of the Jewish Community. The New Yorker reported that Sheldon Adelson’s heated opposition to AIPAC supporting economic assistance to the Palestinians in 2007 provoked a rift between the two key Jewish communal key players.