Gottheimer introduces bill condemning Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists

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Resolution honors Teaneck, N.J., resident Sara Duker — killed in a Jerusalem bus bombing in 1996

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) holds a news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

A resolution introduced on Tuesday by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) criticizes the Palestinian Authority for payments to terrorists and honors a woman from his district killed in a suicide bombing.

“I think you need to keep a spotlight on this until the Palestinian Authority comes out and renounces martyr payments to terrorists,” Gottheimer told Jewish Insider. “And I just don’t understand why that hasn’t happened. And we need to keep the pressure on to get them to do that.”

Sara Duker, 22, of Teaneck, N.J., was killed in a bus bombing in Jerusalem on February 25, 1996, which also took the lives of 25 other people. Two other Americans were also killed in the attack, and are referenced in the bill, which is cosponsored by Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Max Rose (D-NY).

Gottheimer linked the bill to this week’s divestment referendum at Columbia University. Duker graduated from Barnard College the year before her death.

“The BDS movement, which many, like me, believe is antisemitic, are trying to praise and trying to make it as if the Palestinian Authority is being attacked,” he said. “But actually the Palestinian Authority is the one that continues, as we see in this case, to reward terrorists with payments.”

Gottheimer said he sees a “double standard” at play in this incident and other scenarios involving the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which he said turns “a complete blind eye on rewarding terrorists.”

“The reality is there’s still so much that we must stand up to when it comes to the [Palestinian Authority],” he continued, “and this is just an example of that.”

The resolution calls on the international community to condemn Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and reaffirms the penalties for such activity as laid out in the Taylor Force Act.

“I think you’ve got to continue to shine a spotlight on the behavior,” Gottheimer said. “And the fact that this individual, this terrorist who killed Sarah Duker — the family’s still getting money every single month while in jail because of the pay schedule. I don’t think people realize that.”

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