The Biden Administration is eager to again turn on the spigot of American aid to the PA. Unfortunately, the PA insists on continuing its Pay-for-Slay program without even a cosmetic change, and this means any renewal of such aid by Washington would violate the Taylor Force Act. The latest report on the effect of the Taylor Force Act, and PA attempts to get around it, is here.
The US State Department has acknowledged that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not “terminated payments for acts of terrorism,” according to a non-public report to Congress seen by The Algemeiner, as the Biden administration has said it intends to restart aid to the PA cut by former President Donald Trump.
The Biden Administration’s statement of its intent to restart aid to the PA badly needed rewording. It should have read thus “if and when the Palestinian Authority’s Pay-For-Slay program ends, so that there is no longer any potential violation of the Taylor Force Act, we will at that point be willing to look again at restarting aid to the PA.”
The March 18 report’s findings raised questions about how the Biden administration will resume US aid to the PA while complying with the Taylor Force Act (TFA), passed in 2018, which restricts such aid as long as the Palestinian Authority continues to make payments to terrorist prisoners.
The Taylor Force Act does not merely “restrict” American aid to the PA, but requires ending it altogether as long as the Pay-for-Slay program continues.
The PA has not revoked any law authorizing or implementing the system of compensation for imprisoned individuals that uses the sentence or period of incarceration of an individual imprisoned for an act of terrorism to determine the level of compensation paid, or have taken comparable action that has the effect of invalidating any such law,” the report found. “The Department was unable to certify that the PA, the PLO, and any successor or affiliated organizations have met the requirements of the TFA.”
The PA is wracking its brain trying to repackage its Pay-For-Slay program as something else, to disguise its purpose. There are reports that it will propose distributing aid to prisoners “based on economic need,” but if any of the recipients are terrorists or their families, that would still violate the Taylor Force Act.
The report said that although the PA did not publish a 2019 budget, financial statements show that it sought to make $151.6 million in payments to convicted prisoners, detainees and former prisoners. Additionally, it was estimated that the PA paid about $191 million to reward families of deceased Palestinians referred to as “martyrs.”
In 2019, the PA spent $341 million on its Pay-For-slay program; it has yet to release figures for 2020, but there is no reason to believe that that amount has decreased. It’s worth nothing that’s at least twice what it would cost the PA to vaccinate every Palestinian over the age of 16 against the coronavirus. The PA did nothing to prepare for dealing with the pandemic; unlike Israel, the PA did not contract to buy vaccines, relying as always on what others could do for it. Its priorities – “Pay for Slay” remains untouchable, while vaccine purchases must wait – is a stark reminder of the PA’s murderous priorities.
PA officials claim that the majority of recipients of these funds were not involved in committing acts of terrorism, but due to the lack of information about individual recipients we are unable to verify these claims. The specific amount of these funds that was provided in relation to individuals who committed acts of terrorism remains uncertain,” the State Department concluded in the report….
“War is deceit,” said Muhammad in a famous hadith. The PA claims that “the majority of recipients of these funds” – given to prisoners and to the families of those who died while committing their attacks – “were not involved in committing acts of terrorism.” No evidence for this extraordinary assertion was provided to the U.S. government. The Americans were not given the names of those recipients, nor the acts for which they were imprisoned, nor the names, and acts, of those deceased Palestinians whose families are being supplied by the PA with stipends. Why not? The American government needs to know the names, and crimes, of every recipient of PA stipends. How many Palestinians imprisoned for robbery, burglary, drug trafficking, or murdering a neighbor have received these “Pay-For-Slay’ stipends? The answer is: not one.
Note that the PA does not dare to deny that some of the recipients of its stipends did commit acts of terrorism: “they [the PA] claim that the majority of recipients of these funds were not involved in committing acts of terrorism” means that a certain number, though not the “majority” of recipients, did commit acts of terrorism. Any support given to terrorist prisoners or their families, irrespective of what other aid may be given by the PA to non-terrorists, triggers the application of the Taylor Force Act.
“This Administration is committed to working to reform the prisoner and martyr payment system,” the statement continued. “In administering assistance for the West Bank and Gaza, the Biden-Harris Administration has made clear it will comply with applicable requirements under US law, including the Taylor Force Act.
How does the Biden Administration hope to work with the PA “to reform the prisoner and payment system”? No amount of relabelling of Pay-For-Slay, or of now initiating payments to non-terrorist prisoners in an attempt to disguise, through dilution, the main purpose of the payments, which is to reward past, and incentivize future, terrorists, will do the trick. Will it wrack its collective brain to come with some kind of sleight-of-word solution, that it thinks – thinks!—can manage to evade the application of the Taylor Force Act? Is that what the Biden Administration sees as one of its duties – to help the terrorist-supporting PA get around Taylor Force and the will expressed by the American people through their elected representatives in Congress?
How ignoble and cruel of the Biden Administration, if indeed that is — and it certainly looks as if it is — the case.
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