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Conservative Review

Palestinians double down on terrorist salaries as they face shutoff deadline for US aid

The Palestinian government continues to defy U.S. demands that it stop paying salaries to terrorists’ families and jihadis currently held in Israeli prisons, forcing a showdown next month over U.S. funding to the terror-incentivizing Palestinian Authority (PA).

Palestinian Media Watch reports that the PA just released its operations budget for 2018, a significant portion of which is dedicated to the “martyr fund” for Palestinian terrorists and their families.

The Palestinian watchdog found that 7.47 percent of the Palestinian Authority budget, or $355 million, will go to the fund in 2018.

“In open defiance of the US, other donor countries, and Israel, the PA's new budget shows it is continuing to reward terror,” Palestinian Media Watch reports. “The amount equals 44% of the funding the PA hopes to receive in foreign aid in 2018,

The United States is the largest donor to the Palestinians. Taxpayers shell out some $600 million annually to the Palestinians through USAID (a State Department program), U.S. economic assistance, and U.S. contributions to the United Nations Palestinian refugee program (UNRWA).

With the passage of the Taylor Force Act last week, the United States Congress now has teeth behind threats to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority over its salaries to terrorists.

The Taylor Force Act is named after the 28-year-old U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force, who was killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack while he was visiting Israel in 2016. Force graduated from West Point in 2009 and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. At the time of his death, he was an MBA student traveling Israel while studying its entrepreneurial sector. Force was a victim of a system that financially incentivizes Palestinians to turn to terrorism. The family of Force’s assailant continues to receive a monthly pension from the Palestinian Authority “martyr fund.”

By April 22, the State Department must certify to Congress that the Palestinians have stopped their “pay-for-slay” program. If it is determined that the Palestinians did not do so, State has 15 days to report back to Congress about how much U.S. funding should be withheld from the Palestinian Authority.

According to the Taylor Force Act, Congress then has until May 22 (60 days after enactment) to implement the funding reductions.

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