US/World News

House advances bill penalizing PA for payments to attackers’ families

(JTA) – A key House panel has advanced a bill that would reduce U.S. payments to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay subsidies to the families of Palestinians jailed for or killed in attacks on Israelis. The Taylor Force Act, named for an American who was stabbed to death in a 2016 terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, was approved unanimously Wednesday, Nov. 15 by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. The bill leaves some humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians in place. Jewish Insider reported that the humanitarian exemptions came at the behest of Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s special envoy handling Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The Trump administration hopes to restart talks by next year.

“With this legislation, we are forcing the P.A. to choose between U.S. assistance and these morally reprehensible policies, and I am pleased to see this measure move forward in both chambers with so much support,” said Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., the committee’s chairman. Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who is Jewish, and Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., introduced the measure. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., the senior Democrat on the committee, praised the bipartisanship working on the bill and said before the vote, “I believe the approach we’re taking today strikes just the right balance.” The Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee passed companion legislation in August that was similarly modified to accommodate concerns. The Palestinian Authority denies that the targeted program rewards terrorists, saying that most of the money goes to families whose relatives have been imprisoned without due process.

Also Wednesday, two measures were approved that would sanction entities backing Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.

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