Bipartisan call

Lawmakers push administration to negotiate end to Palestinian Authority’s ‘pay for slay’ program

Letter comes amid a spike in Palestinian terror attacks which have killed Israelis, Americans and other foreign citizens

Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) speaks at a press conference to address congestion pricing at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel.

In a new letter set to be sent to Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 50 lawmakers is set to press the administration to prioritize ending the Palestinian Authority’s payments to the families of individuals who have carried out terror attacks on Israelis, known as the “pay for slay” program.  

The letter, obtained by Jewish Insider, comes amid a wave of Palestinian terror attacks that, as the letter notes, has killed both Israelis and foreign nationals, including U.S. citizen Elan Ganeles.

“To maintain a political horizon in support of a viable two-state solution, the PA cannot continue this depraved practice. U.S.-Palestinian ties have improved in recent years, and the Biden Administration is uniquely positioned to change the status quo,” the letter reads. “We encourage the State Department to update Congress on the status of negotiating an end to the ‘pay for slay’ program, and urge the Administration to continue to raise this issue with Palestinian officials. The United States is a trusted regional partner, and must utilize this unique position to bring an end to a system that has harmed so many.”

The letter also asks the administration to report to Congress on efforts underway to end the so-called martyr payments. It notes that the “PA continues to bolster the Martyrs’ Fund” five years after the Taylor Force Act, which cut off U.S. aid to the PA as long as the payments continued, was signed into law.

It also highlights numerous incidents in which terror attacks have been celebrated by Palestinians in the West Bank, in addition to the payments provided by the PA.

The letter was led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and is co-signed by lawmakers from both parties, including Michigan Senate candidate Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and Gottheimer’s Problem Solvers Caucus co-chair Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).

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