House approves legislation to suspend USA aid to Palestinians

House approves legislation to suspend USA aid to Palestinians

The bill, named after an American who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel a year ago, is said to be part of a broader effort by the Trump administration and Congress to halt longstanding USA aid programs that have supported terrorists in the Middle East.

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation that includes the Taylor Force Bill, which freezes aid to the Palestinian Authority until the Ramallah government ends its "pay to slay" policy. It would cut funding for all but a handful of humanitarian enterprises.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Reps. Palestinians now receive about $280 million annually from the United States.

Trump's fellow Republicans control majorities in both the House and Senate.

The measures moving through Congress now are not as severe as had been proposed.

Two other US officials said on condition of anonymity that news of the plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital had kicked up resistance from the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs bureau (NEA), which deals with the region.

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The trio of measures, favored by Israel's government and some pro-Israel groups, comes as Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, attempts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

If Trump made such a move, it could spark demonstrations or violence by Palestinians or by Muslims around the world, in part because of the sensitivity of the Jerusalem site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.

The bill is named for Taylor Force, an MBA student at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and a West Point graduate who was visiting Israel in March 2016 when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian.

In its statement praising the bill's passage, the American Jewish Committee cited a recent Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs finding that in 2017, the Palestinian Authority allocated more than $344 million for payments to Palestinian prisoners and their families, and to the families of deceased terrorists.

The bill states USA money may only be made available if the State Department certifies the Palestinians are serious about ending "acts of violence against Israeli citizens and United States citizens that are perpetrated or materially assisted by individuals under their jurisdictional control". "The House has taken a crucial step towards ending the PA's intentional misuse of foreign assistance to financially reward Palestinian terrorists and their families".


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