Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced legislation on Thursday to impose sanctions on Palestinian officials who reward terrorists.
The End Palestinian Terror Salaries Act would, within 90 days of being enacted, impose financial penalties on Palestinian officials who financially reward Palestinian terrorists and their families.
“Palestinian terrorists have wounded or killed more than a dozen Israelis over the last few months, including 45-year old American-Israeli Ari Fuld,” said Cruz. “The Palestinian government continues to provide hundreds of millions of dollars each year rewarding such terrorists and their families, providing an incentive for ever more violence.”
Fuld was stabbed to death in September by an Arab teenager in the West Bank. Despite being severely wounded, he got up and ran after the attacker, shooting him as other Israelis shopping in the area drew arms and rushed to the scene.
Fuld was soon pronounced dead at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem after doctors unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate him.
The terrorist was transported to a hospital and is currently behind bars. His family is scheduled to receive a monthly stipend of $392 from the Palestinian Authority over the next few years.
“It’s past time for Congress to impose direct costs on the Palestinian officials who manage the programs that provide these rewards,” said Cruz.
In March, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Taylor Force Act, which defunds most U.S. assistance to the P.A. for its “Martyrs Fund.”
Then in October, he signed the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, which will eliminate remaining U.S. funding for the P.A. next month.
“Eliminating such aid, which totaled $61 million this year even as other assistance was being cut, would deal a blow to Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation that both sides value,” reported the Associated Press. “The law would also require the Jerusalem offices of the U.S. Agency for International Development to close.”
It is unknown if Cruz’s bill will pass as a stand-alone measure or be inserted into spending legislation that must be passed by the end of the week. Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Companion piece to the Taylor Force Act
Several pro-Israel groups have already come out in support of the senator’s measure.
“We deeply applaud Senator Ted Cruz for his continuous courage in introducing this bill,” EMET founder and president Sarah Stern said. “The Palestinian Authority, even after the passage of the Taylor Force Act, has continued to brazenly reward Palestinian terrorists or the families of the Palestinian ‘martyrs,’ who are the murderers of American and Israeli citizens, demonstrating the upmost of contempt to the will of the American people, our elected officials and the American taxpayer who end up paying these salaries.”
“The Palestinian leadership’s immoral ‘Pay for Slay’ must be stopped,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein said. “For too long, the Palestinian Authority has been using American taxpayer dollars to reward terrorists for maiming and murdering U.S. and Israeli citizens. These incentives for violence and the P.A.’s constant promotion of hate are major obstacles to peace.”
“The National Council of Young Israel strongly supports the legislation,” its president, Farley Weiss said. “We helped start the issue in Congress 20 years ago with Congressman Matt Salmon to bring to justice Palestinian Arab terrorists who murdered Americans. Senator Cruz held a hearing in the Senate on this issue.”
“It is outrageous that the Palestinian Authority receives aid while using 7 percent of its budget to give financial backing to terrorists and their families including those who murder Americans,” he added. “They even name squares after such vile murderers and promote the mass murderers as heroes on their television shows and in their schools.”
Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein said, “The Taylor Force Act was only the first step in the U.S. government’s attempt to stop at least some payments to Palestinian Arab terrorists.”
“The reaction of the [Palestinian] Authority has not been appropriate, so ZOA strongly endorses the imposition of sanctions on individuals within the P.A. who authorize such payments,” he continued. “Sen. Cruz has taken a very important step in keeping this issue alive. The sponsors of Palestinian terror should know that the U.S. congress will not rest until the actual payments are stopped to Palestinian terrorists and their families.”
Daniel Mariaschin, CEO and executive vice president of B’nai B’rith, echoed other groups in support of the legislation, noting its ties with the Taylor Force Act.
“This is a companion piece to the Taylor Force Act, which we have supported. If you’re going to predicate U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority on ending its support for terror, you should sanction officials who incentivize, excuse or reward it.”
However, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has not taken a position on the proposed legislation: “While we have not yet had an opportunity to review this newly introduced legislation, we strongly supported the Taylor Force Act, and we appreciate ongoing efforts to end this abhorrent practice,” spokesperson Marshall Wittmann saidj.