Congress is finally pulling funding from Palestinian 'pay-to-slay'

Congress is finally pulling funding from Palestinian 'pay-to-slay'
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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 CoatsDems slam Trump for siding with Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi killing Dem senator demands public intelligence assessment on Khashoggi killing Hillicon Valley: Official warns midterm influence could trigger sanctions | UK, Canada call on Zuckerberg to testify | Google exec resigns after harassment allegations | Gab CEO defends platform | T-Mobile, Sprint tailor merger pitch for Trump MORE and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntTrump’s relationship with Saudi crown prince under pressure Senate Republican pushes back against claim that Trump covered for Saudi crown prince Sunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover 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.

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Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the U.S. has permitted the two key Palestinian organizations — the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the PA — to get away with murder or, at least, with honoring murder. It is time for this scandalous behavior to end.

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 John TrumpTrump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step' Five takeaways from Mississippi's Senate debate Watergate’s John Dean: Nixon would tell Trump 'he's going too far' 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 Anthony Booker2020 Democrats challenge Trump's use of troops at Mexico border Election Countdown: Florida fight ends with Scott, DeSantis wins | Dems see Sunbelt in play for 2020 | Trump to campaign in Mississippi ahead of runoff | GOP wipeout in Orange County | Ortiz Jones concedes in Texas House race Booker to make second visit to New Hampshire in weeks 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.