In a bipartisan vote Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted the Taylor Force Act, legislation that aims to end direct U.S. financial aid to the Palestinian Authority as a punitive measure over the PA’s refusal to end payments of stipends to jailed Palestinian terrorists.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have decided to introduce legislation which curbs Israel’s ability to fight Palestinian terror.
The Taylor Force Act was named after a U.S. Army veteran who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist while visiting Israel in 2016.
The bill will not affect Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation and will continue to enable U.S. humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Arabs.
The vote was lauded by Israeli commentators and the Anti-Defamation League.
“It is time for the United States — and the entire international community — to make crystal clear to the Palestinians that rewarding terrorism is absolutely unacceptable and must stop immediately,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
“True partners for peace do not engage in ‘pay to slay,’ as these payments have come to be known. This bill sends a clear message to the Palestinian Authority that they must immediately cease this veneration and celebration of terrorism, and take steps to crack down Palestinian incitement towards Israel,” Greenblatt added, while making it clear he expects both chambers of Congress to “pass this important legislation.”
A day before the Taylor Force Act was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, 10 Democrat representatives introduced legislation which aims to “prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.”
The detention of Palestinian youths who indulge in terrorist activity is a hotly debated issue with pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations such as the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, which claims Israel is routinely jailing these youths and refusing to treat them well.
The pro-Palestinian lobby also whitewashes the seriousness of the terrorist activity by Palestinian youths who in many cases are convicted for stabbing attacks and for throwing stones and firebombs.
Israel, though, views stone and firebomb-throwing as attempted murder and in November 2015 introduced new legislation making the minimum penalty for rock and stone-throwing three years in prison. The maximum sentence was raised to 15 years behind bars.
In addition, the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, banned young Palestinian terrorists and their families from receiving National Insurance Institute benefits while their sentences are served, a measure pro-Palestinian NGOs tried to undo via the Israeli High Court of Justice.
The reason Israel views stone-throwing and firebomb attacks as attempted murder and doesn’t hesitate to incarcerate Palestinian youths is connected to the results of these terrorist attacks. Often, they cause serious injury and even death.
Take, for example, the 2011 case of Asher Palmer and his 1-year-old baby son Jonathan, both of whom were killed while the father was driving on Route 60 near Hebron in southern Judea.
The police initially thought Palmer had fallen asleep behind the steering wheel but later determined the man had been hit by a large rock that shattered the windshield of his car and hit him in the face. The car then flipped over and killed him and his baby son.
Other were more fortunate, like Zahava Weiss from the Jewish village of Carmei Tzur in Gush Etzion, the largest settlement block in Judea.
The stone-throwing attack on Weiss’ car was filmed by an AFP cameraman who happened to be in Beit Umar, a Hamas hotbed along Route 60 near Carmei Tzur.
In November 2012, Channel 10 in Israel reported on that attack and others which took place at the same spot.
Weiss told Channel 10 that while she noticed the rock-throwers she saw “murder in their eyes” when they pelted her SUV with rocks.
Channel 10 reported at the time that the Israeli Defense Forces’ rules of engagement don’t allow for the use of live fire, despite the fact that the victims of the stone throwers were in mortal danger, as the AFP images of the attack on Weiss’ car made clear.
The armored windscreen of her car probably saved her life. She told her interviewer that her only thought was to leave the place as quickly as possible and to keep driving in the direction of Carmei Tzur.
Another stone-throwing attack, which was recorded on video by professional cameramen took place in the Silwan neighborhood near the Old City of Jerusalem in October 2010.
The stone-throwing attack on an Israeli car caused the driver to run over one of his attackers many media outlets published reports which solely focused on the reaction of the Israeli driver.
Israeli citizen Tamir Sasi, however, analyzed the video and pointed out that the evidence proves the attack was an attempt to kill a Jew.
Sasi debunked the Palestinian claim that the children were merely playing when the Israeli driver deliberately hit one of them, and showed that the Palestinian youths tried to kill the Jew’s toddler son, who was sitting next to the driver.
He also asked what all the cameramen were doing at the spot of the attack and noted they were working for Al Jazeera.
Sasi claimed the youths were there to deliver a scoop to Al Jazeera and accused one of the cameramen of being complacent in the attack.
The man could be seen throwing a rock at the Israeli car and he was participating in an attempt to lynch the driver, Sasi charged.
He added that the stone throwers are succeeding in their attempts to intimidate Jews who are living beyond the so-called green line, the 1948 armistice line, and claimed that stoning attacks are taking place every day even within Israel proper.
“It happens all over the country and we are silent,” Sasi said, adding that the parents of these Arab children should be held accountable for their terrorist deeds.
Stoning attacks in Israel are indeed a common occurrence and in some cases, car drivers miraculously escape.
In almost all cases, Palestinian youths are the perpetrators of the attacks because they are growing up in a society which encourages them from a young age to carry out these attacks.
In fact, in order to be considered a man in Palestinian society, a boy needs to be arrested for stone-throwing at least once. Or, as former New York Times Israel correspondent Jodi Rudoren put it, stone-throwing is “a rite of passage and an honored act of defiance” in Palestinian society.
Stone-throwing in the U.S. is regarded as a felony, or attempted murder, just as in Israel.
“In 1986, a U.S. teenager was sentenced to life in prison for throwing a stone from an overpass that killed a toddler in a car below. In 2010, two South Carolina teenagers were indicted on first-degree murder charges after killing a woman sitting in the front seat of a car with a stone hurled from an overpass,” the U.S.-based watchdog organization Camera reported in August 2013.
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