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Senate Mulls Slashing Funds To The Palestinians Over Payments To Jailed Terrorists

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considered whether massive cuts in aid to the Palestinians would help end terrorism or spur a breakdown that could compound the violence.

The Foreign Relations Committee met Wednesday to discuss the Taylor Force Act, named for an American studying for a graduate degree in Tel Aviv when he was stabbed and killed by a Palestinian terrorist in 2016.

As of now, the Palestinian Authority pays the families of Palestinians who were killed, injured, or jailed for attacking Israelis, with murders receiving up to $3,500 a month. This legislation would reduce certain funds given to the Palestinian Authority – infrastructure money and debt assistance for instance- for as long as it continues these payments.

The bill now has mostly Republican backing. Democrats have expressed interest in advancing a modified version of the bill, but say its provisions — cutting all but security aid to the Palestinian police force, which helps Israel keep the West Bank quiet — goes too far.

Sen. Lindsey Graham. R-S.C., who introduced the bill, launched the hearing by noting that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains committed to the payments.

“Here’s what Abbas said last week, president of the Palestinian Authority, ‘Even if I will have to leave my position in response to U.S. and Israel pressure, I will not compromise on the salary of a martyr or a prisoner,” Graham said.

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