Josh Blustein, Johns Hopkins University
What if I told you that you’re paying for a policy that directly funds your own murder?
Well, you are.
The United States currently sends $350 million a year of taxpayer money directly to terrorists who are paid when they kill Americans, through foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Before you deduce that I just called all Palestinians terrorists— I did not and would not—know that this discussion is actually something so painfully obvious it benefits both Republicans and Democrats, Palestinian and Israeli alike.
This Coca-Cola of politics comes in the form of the Taylor Force Act. Named after a U.S. army veteran who was murdered while walking around Jaffa on vacation, the Act, if passed, would cut aid to the PA until it stops its “Pay for Slay” program where the Palestinian Authority rewards terrorists who have American or Israeli blood on their hands with a hefty monthly salary. The system works like this: Each terrorist who has murdered civilians or soldiers (the distinction is not made) receives a salary and benefits based on how many people he/she killed or how much jail time he/she receives. In this lethal logic, the more deadly an attack, the more profitable the payout. Even toward the lower end of the scale, the salaries are more lucrative than most West Bank jobs.
In accordance with Palestinian Authority Government Decision No. 32 of 2010, those committing crimes that result in prison sentences of at least 30 years receive salaries of more than $3,400/month— 20 times the per capita income in the West Bank. Palestinian teachers only receive $615 per month. Talk about priorities. And the schools in which these teachers are paid a low-wage are named after mass-murdering terrorists like the Salah Khalaf Elementary School for Boys in Al-Yamoun, named after the mastermind behind the Munich Olympics Massacre, where 11 Israeli athletes were murdered during the Games and of the murder of 2 American diplomats in Sudan.
Imagine the outrage if Trump decided to pay a multi-million dollar salary to the evil man who drove a car into the crowd at Charlottesville, and then build a statue of him on the White House lawn. Yet, this is exactly what the PA does— openly heralding and paying huge sums of money to terrorists like Amjad Awad and Hakim Awad who broke into the home of the Fogel family and slit their throats while they were sleeping in their beds, including the parents and 3 children aged 3 months, 4 and 11 years old. Over the past four years, the PA has paid over a billion dollars to terrorists and their families.
The main argument against the Taylor Force Act is that it would cut off U.S. foreign aid money that is used to help poor, struggling Palestinians and to build roads and schools. This is simply nonsense. 49.6% of the aid goes to paying terrorists and much of the rest goes to other militant purposes and to the corrupt leaders who haven’t held elections in over a decade. So little of the aid goes to help everyday Palestinians that a play was released in Ramallah called “Beit Yasmine” which calls on President (Dictator) Mahmoud Abbas to share some of the foreign aid with the people.
The Taylor Force Act is good for the Palestinian people. It will (hopefully) force their leaders to help them. When murderers are hailed as heroes, welcomed into the high ranks of government and become fabulously wealthy; when public squares and streets and summer camps are named after terrorists who kill Israeli and American children, Palestinians can’t reasonably expect their next generation to dream of becoming doctors, teachers and peacemakers.
If you are reading this in America, your tax dollars are going to support a policy that directly funds your own murder. As of now, every Palestinian has a monetary and social incentive to kill you. You don’t have to be a Jew; Taylor Force wasn’t, yet his murder was encouraged and funded by the Palestinian Authority. This isn’t a pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian issue. The Taylor Force Act is common sense: stop giving aid to a terrorist organization in a unity government with an even more murderous terrorist organization (Hamas).
When the Act passed its first vote in a Senate committee last month, it received bipartisan support. Yet, some high profile Democrats like Cory Booker voted against it. Giving money to terrorist groups that propagate the honor killing of women, torture gays and commit a litany of human rights offenses should be a political layup. Booker offered no comment. I have none either.