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Israeli bill, honoring memory of American Taylor Force, set to become law

Israel’s Knesset has smoothly advanced a bill in memory of Taylor Force, an American killed in a terror attack in Jaffa in 2016. The bill moves to deduct funds that Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority equal to the financial support the PA gives to terrorists and their families.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee last week that the PA had agreed “to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others.”

Senior PA officials, however, such as Head of Prisoner Affairs Issa Karaka have categorically denied that. Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman also said he has “seen no cessation or intention to stop paying terrorists’ families.”

The only change that seems to have taken place in response to U.S. President Donald Trump and Tillerson’s pressure on PA President Mahmoud Abbas is one of terminology, where such terrorists are no longer referred to as “martyrs.”

Vanderbilt University student Taylor Force was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Jaffa on March 8, 2016. He was 29. Force was in Israel to expand his knowledge of global entrepreneurship. Being a U.S. citizen, his case brought the issue of PA payments to terrorists to Americans’ attention even though such payments have been going on for years.

Israel collects taxes and tariffs on behalf of the PA and then transfers the revenues. The Taylor Force Bill, which was advanced last week in the Knesset by 48 to 13 votes demonstrating cross-party unity, allows Israel to deduct a sum from these revenues similar to the PA’s 1.1 billion-shekel ($300 million) budget in 2016 for supporting Palestinian terrorists and their families. The PA, by its own law, sets aside 7 percent of its budget for this purpose.

Knesset Member Elazar Stern, who proposed the bill, accused the PA of using funds to encourage terrorists leaving prison to return to their atrocities. The bill will go for a final committee reading before becoming law.

Recent legislation in the U.S. provided a model for the Israeli bill with its own Taylor Force Act.

“Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis?” asked South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who sponsored the American legislation. “The Palestinians need to decide — do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them?”

Yousef Jabareen, Knesset member in the Arab opposition party, condemned the Israeli bill as constituting “collective punishment” on behalf of “the occupying force” against the Palestinian population, claiming that the payments were used merely to “stop families from starving.”

Currently the Knesset has no representation from a moderate Arab party, despite clear evidence that many Arab Israelis strongly support the Jewish state.

It is unclear who told Tillerson that the PA will stop payments to terrorists, but it likely came from a senior source since he relayed it to the U.S. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

If social media is any indicator of Israeli opinion, many Israelis doubt the PA will reverse terrorist payments and consider Tillerson inexperienced in the Middle East, if not naive.

The site the ReligionofPeace.com, which claims to be pluralistic and non-partisan, said the lies are permitted in Islam in certain cases: “Muslim scholars teach that Muslims should generally be truthful to each other, unless the purpose of lying is to smooth over differences.”

Lying to non-believers is also permitted in Islam under certain circumstances, the best known being taqiyya. These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause of Islam — in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.”

“Truthful lips endure for ever,
    but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
    but those who promote peace have joy.
No harm overtakes the righteous,
    but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
The Lord detests lying lips,
    but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”
Proverbs 12:19-23

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Joni has worked in education and management and has been a writer for Kehila News Israel since 2016. He holds an MBA, as well as teaching qualifications. He lives in the north of Israel with his family.

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