The following was released by Morton Klein, president, Zionist Organization of America, Josh London and Dan Pollak, Co-Directors of ZOA Government Relations Department:
Today, the Zionist Organization of America has asked supporters of Israel to reach out to their Senators in qualified support of the new version of the Taylor Force Act as a first step, a proposed law which conditions only a portion of U.S. aid to the extremist, anti-Semitic, anti-US Palestinian Authority (PA) on the ending of the PA’s regular practice of spending $355 million a year on salaries and pensions to Arab terrorists and families of Arab terrorists who murder Jews or Americans in Israel – and giving top government jobs to surviving Arab terrorists after they leave Israeli prison.
The ZOA’s support for the revised version of the Taylor Force Act comes with disappointment that the bill is not nearly as strong as it could or should be, or even as it was when originally introduced. While the original Taylor Force Act already excluded cuts to US aid given to the extremist PA to subsidize the PA’s minimal security cooperation with Israel and monies donated to subsidize “refugee” camps, it would at least have cut all remaining assistance, about $260 million (based on the 2017 budget) unless the PA ended its Nazi-like practice of paying Palestinian Arabs to commit atrocities against Jews, Israelis, and Americans in Israel.
The revised Senate bill only cuts funds which, in the subtle language of the political appropriations process, ‘directly benefit’ the anti-Semitic PA—even though every US “indirect” dollar given to this Nazi-like Arab regime is actually of direct benefit to them in real terms. So this revised bill now excludes roughly half of the assistance under threat, amounting to only about $130 million. With enactment of this new bill, should it pass, the US will continue to give the PA money for things like hospitals, security cooperation, and “refugee” assistance, and to help cover their bills, like electricity to Israeli utility companies. (Remember, all of these monies are fungible and we can’t be certain all “hospital’ and refugee, etc. monies goes where they are supposed to go).
Further, all the US is asking of the radical, anti-Semitic PA to receive all funds is to stop paying Arabs to murder Jews. If they refuse to do this simple, minimal step, should the US really give the PA any US taxpayer dollars for anything at all!? After 24 years since Oslo, isn’t it now clear that the PA doesn’t want peace with the Jewish State and really wants to keep killing Jews and ultimately destroy Israel as a Jewish State?!
A Senate committee hearing will take place tomorrow (Thursday, August 3), and amendments will likely be put forward to weaken the bill even further. Action is required to defeat any such additional amendments. The ZOA recognizes that the political need to get to 60 votes in the Senate is a real factor in the new compromise language. More constructively, this new version of the bill also includes requirements for a regular six month review, adds some additional penalties, and also includes language asking the Europeans to be more responsible with their aid to the PA, as the US is now trying to be.
The Senate should keep in mind the reason for the appropriateness of the much larger reductions in US aid in the original Taylor Force Act. The anti-Semitic PA urges murdering Jews, or really anybody in Israel, and then rewards Arab terrorists and their families with salaries as high as $3,120 per month, far exceeding the Palestinian Arab paycheck. And, following a surviving Arab terrorist’s release from Israeli prison, that terrorist is often offered a top government job for life, further incentivizing others to emulate his/her terrorism. The harsher sanctions in the original bill were intended to make the decision to continue to act like the Arab version of Nazis more difficult for the leadership of the PA. The new Taylor Force Act does some of that, but should and could be stronger.
Supporters of Israel should remember the murder of the Salomon family only last week. Palestinian Arab terrorist Omar al-Abed’s family will be paid by the PA over $3000/month for life, indirectly from US funds which continue to aid and abet the PA, unless something is changed. We urge all supporters of Israel and human decency to call the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senators to urge them to take robust action to strengthen the Taylor Force Act and to oppose any amendments which will weaken this Bill. But in any event, the ZOA supports this Taylor Force Act.