In an unusual display of bipartisanship, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed The Taylor Force Act, a bill to reduce U.S. funding for the Palestinians unless official bodies stop subsidizing the families of killers.
Co-sponsored by Lindsay Graham, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAn independent commission should review our National Defense Strategy Overnight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE, The Taylor Force Act was named in honor of Taylor Force, a West Point graduate who had served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was stabbed to death while with a Vanderbilt University tour group in Israel. By any stretch of the imagination, the stipends offered for such killings lavish incentives to commit violence.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) argues cynically that such payments relieve poverty. Alas, they do. However, they do so at the price of murders. Would passage of the Taylor Force Act halt or add to terrorist activities? The answer is obvious. Eliminating the incentive for terrorism will reduce its presence. Clearly pathologies of the kind the world has experienced from the Middle East won’t disappear, but the Taylor Force Act is a mitigating influence in the right direction.
At the moment, terrorists who murder are honored with street names. In fact, the more egregious the crime, the more you get paid. Campsites, schools, clinics are named after so-called martyrs who kill innocent Jews.
This is arguably the most barbaric government policy on the globe since the crime of murder is endorsed by officials and U.S. taxpayers are partially responsible for underwriting the crime.
It is conceivable The Taylor Force Act could have a salutary effect on President Mahmoud Abbas and the PA since it could open a pathway to an accord which might yield Palestinian jobs and opportunities. The PA has two pools to deal with “pay-to-slay” arrangements with combined budgets exceeding $300 million annually. In fact, payments to “martyrs” dwarf the average monthly salary of an ordinary working inhabitant of the West Bank. De-incentivizing murder seems like the obvious thing to do.
The passage of this act came a day before President TrumpDonald TrumpOmar, Muslim Democrats decry Islamophobia amid death threats On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Trump cheers CNN's Cuomo suspension MORE conferred recognition of Jerusalem as the Israel’s capital. Trump said his decision was a “recognition of reality.” The White House also noted that the decision would not have any impact on the future of boundaries as negotiated in a final status agreement.
Clearly the physical location of the American embassy is not material to a future peace deal. But the back-to-back actions on the Taylor Force Act and the embassy represent the unequivocal Trump administration support for the state of Israel, a condition that has not been the case heretofore.
However, in the Middle East with a history of sanguinic decisions, the obvious isn’t always obvious. This time, the House vote on The Taylor Force Act may break the logjam, but optimism isn’t usually on the legislative agenda. Four Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may vote against the measure when it is considered in the Senate, including possibly Cory BookerCory BookerPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE who some consider the next Democratic presidential contender and who has voted against the act in the past, but my guess is the measure will pass in the Senate nonetheless.
Agatha Christie wrote multiple novels and plays about murder. The outcome in every case turned out to be a surprise. In the case of the Taylor Force Act there aren’t any surprises. We know who the murderers are and why they do their evil deeds. Now it is time for this savagery to end and for the world to know murder of innocents will not be countenanced.
Herbert London is the president of the London Center for Policy Research, which conducts research on the key policy issues of our time: national security, energy, and risk analysis. He formerly served on the Board of Governors at St. John’s College and the Board of Overseers at the Center for Naval Analyses.