Rep. Smucker Rebukes Palestinian PM for Terror Payments

WASHINGTON – Fresh off a trip to Israel with 32 other Republican House Members, Representative Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) slammed Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah for justifying payments to families of terrorists after a meeting with the Palestinian leader. In an interview with Jewish Insider, Smucker said, “It was absolutely amazing was when asked about the payments to families of terrorists, that were either imprisoned or killed, he tried to justify it. We were very disappointed in his approach and explanations with that particular issue.”

The Pennsylvania lawmaker expressed his strong backing for the Taylor Force Act, legislation that would cut off U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until they cease payments to families of terrorists. “It’s very clear that those payments are being made. For the P.A. to incentivize terrorism, essentially, is completely unacceptable,” he added.

Smucker’s August visit to Israel was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of AIPAC. The delegation also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who Smucker called a “remarkable leader.” A freshman Congressman, Smucker was born into an Amish family and served two terms in the Pennsylvania State Senate where he chaired the Committee on Education.

“What we saw in Charlottesville with white supremacy groups and people actually wearing Nazi insignia was particularly horrifying after just coming from Israel and visiting the Holocaust museum,” Smucker noted. “We should unequivocally denounce these groups. They are simply not acceptable. It is unbelievable that there are still groups in our country today that believe they are better than others based on the color of their skin or religion.”

When asked about President Donald Trump’s remarks last Tuesday saying that “both sides” are to blame for the violence in Virginia, Smucker noted, “The President will speak for himself. I obviously cannot tell you what he was thinking when he said that, but I think it’s important for the American people to hear from its leaders that we will not stand for this type of activity.”

Reflecting on the “fabulous” trip, Smucker emphasized the sobering realities of Israeli security dilemmas given its many neighboring threats. At the same time, he highlighted how Israel is only second to Silicon Valley in terms of tech startups. “The energy and the vitality of the country was really something to behold,” he explained.

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