Barletta Applauds Passage of Taylor Force Act
Dec 5, 2017
The Bill Cuts U.S. Aid to Palestinian Authority As They Continue to Subsidize Terrorists
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1164, the Taylor Force Act, by a voice vote. Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) cosponsored the legislation, which would prohibit U.S. taxpayer assistance to the Palestinian Authority, who are known to openly pay terrorists and their families.
“It is reprehensible that that the United States would supply any funds to groups who give handouts to terrorists and their families,” Barletta said following the vote. “The Palestinian Authority has shown zero willingness to address these egregious practices. I will continue to pray for comfort and support of Taylor Force’s family, who was tragically murdered by a Palestinian terrorist. Shamefully, the Palestinian Authority supports these atrocities. America can no longer acknowledge political actors who turn the other way or outright encourage terrorism.”
The bill was named in honor of U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force, who was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Tel Aviv last year. Force was killed when a Palestinian man carried out a stabbing spree, injuring ten others.
The tragedy highlighted the Palestinian Authority’s grotesque practice of the providing salaries to terrorists and their families based on the scale of death resulting from an attack. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was even quoted saying, “I don’t intend to cease payment for families of prisoner martyrs, even if it costs me my seat, I will continue to pay them until my last day.”
In fact, the payments are even enshrined in Palestinian law, where $315 million were paid out last year, nearly 8% of the Palestinian Authority’s total budget. The Taylor Force Act would cut hundreds of millions in U.S. economic assistance until the Palestinian Authority changes this practice.
American citizens have long been seeking justice against the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization. One tool has been the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1992, which has been under court review in a case titled Sokolow v. Palestinian Liberation Organization, currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case centers on seven terror attacks perpetrated between 2001 and 2004.
In one attack, a seventeen-year-old blew himself up at a crowded bus stop in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem; in another, Hamas operatives detonated a bomb in a Hebrew University cafe; and, in a third, a Palestinian security officer opened fire in a crowded Jaffa mall. Together, these and the other attacks killed dozens of civilians and wounded scores more, including a number of American citizens.
Benjamin Blutstein, 25, of Susquehanna Township, PA, was killed in the Hebrew University café attack. Benjamin was in Israel at Pardes Institute, in conjunction with Hebrew University, on a two-year training program to become a teacher of Jewish studies. He had graduated from The Rabbi David L. Silver Yeshiva Academy, Susquehanna High School, and Dickinson College in Carlisle, where he majored both in religion and Judaic studies. His family has fought for justice from the PLO since tragically losing Benjamin to terrorism.
In 2004, the families of eleven American victims sued the Palestinian Authority in the Southern District of New York under the civil remedies provision of the Antiterrorism Act. The provision, passed in 1992, allows “[a]ny national of the United States injured in his or her person, property, or business by reason of an act of international terrorism, or his or her estate, survivors, or heirs” to sue and recover threefold damages in “any appropriate district court of the United States.”
The plaintiffs insisted that the PLO and the Palestinian Authority bore responsibility. In 2015, after a seven-week trial, a jury found the Palestinian Authority liable for six of the attacks and awarded plaintiffs a $218.5 million judgment, which, when tripled, became $655.5 million.
“The United States must cut off all support of terrorism. These entities are detestable and deserve the full weight of American power against them. Measures must be taken immediately to cease support for the PA until they denounce these activities,” Barletta said.