The US is almost $20 trillion in debt. That equates to over $60 thousand for every man, woman, and child in the US. There is no consensus on how much in unfunded liabilities is owed, but it is generally believed to be at least $100 trillion. That includes Social Security, Medicare, and all level of government pensions. With all this money owed, why is the US continuing to fund terrorists?
An Israeli family sat down to Shabbat dinner last Friday. A celebration for the new addition to their family, when a Palestinian man invaded their home, in Halamish, and proceeded to butcher the family with a knife. The terrorist killed three and injured another, before an off-duty soldier rushed over from his home next door and shot the terrorist.
It is upsetting the man will be cheered by many people. It is upsetting the man will be hailed as a hero by many. Perhaps most upsetting and infuriating, is the man and his family will receive US taxpayer funds from a person working two jobs to make ends meet.
In 1964 Fatah created the first iteration of the Martyrs fund. Since then, the fund has gone through changes in structure and leadership. The fund is now run by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which should be designated a foreign terrorist organization, which is funded by the Palestinian Authority.
The fund was created to support the families of terrorists killed or captured in actions against Israel. Palestinians will call them “militants”, but the rest of the world calls them terrorists. When terrorists are released from jail by Israel, they have a large lump sum waiting for them.
William Booth wrote about the subject for the Washington Post recently stating, “Yossi Kuperwasser, a former top intelligence officer and Israeli army general, who now works as a scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said the Palestinian government allocates $300 million a year for these payments, which is more than 20% of the annual foreign aid given to the government by all donors.”
If the Palestinian government can afford to pay the bills for terrorists killing Israelis and Americans, they don’t need our money.
Not only does the money flow to terrorists from the fund, it encourages terrorism. The monthly payouts can range from 2,400 to 12,000 shekels a month, depending on time in prison, according to the Palestinian Media Watch. However, the low end of the pay scale is equivalent to a middle-income job in the West Bank, and 40 percent higher than the average wage in Gaza. The higher end of the pay scale are numbers not seen in the area. The Palestinian Authority is making it more profitable to be a terrorist than a regular citizen with a nonviolent job.
The Palestinian leadership does not even appear to hide the fact they fund terrorism. Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian Prime Minister, has stated “their cause is the cause of all of us.”, when speaking about terrorists in Israel. This isn’t a nobody speaking, this is a high-level official, in a government receiving hundreds of millions of US taxpayer dollars.
The US started giving aid to the Palestinians in the 1990’s. To date, US taxpayers have given over $5 billion to Gaza and the West Bank. In 2016, the US gave over $700 million to the Palestinians for direct aid to the Palestinian Authority to funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA), which has camps in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
Many will tell you that the US is not funding Palestinian terror groups, the US is providing humanitarian assistance. The US funding is going towards schools and roads. This is sleight of hand accounting. Money is fungible. When the US taxpayer gives money to build a road or provide shelter for refugees, the responsibility is taken away from Palestinian leadership. It can now use funds meant for infrastructure to fund terrorist operations or the Martyrs fund.
Congress should move to immediately pass the Taylor Force Act, H.R. 1164. The bill would prohibit foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority until the State Department certifies no more funding for terrorists or their families by the Palestinian Authority. The legislation was introduced in the 114th Congress by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) in the House. It was reintroduced by Lamborn in the current Congress. It is named after an American citizen killed by a Palestinian while in Israel. It currently has 89 cosponsors, and for some reason no Democrats have chosen to champion the cause.
It is time for Congress to stop funding terrorists. Vote on H.R. 1164 and force Members of Congress to show their true colors; pro-American taxpayer or pro-Palestinian terrorist.
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government.