On March 9, 2016, Taylor Force was visiting Israel with a tour group from Vanderbilt University. On a boardwalk off of a Mediterranean beach just outside of Tel Aviv, Force would lose his life at the hands of a Palestinian terrorist.
Force was far from the first person to die in a stabbing attack carried out by a Palestinian terrorist in recent years, but his death struck a chord across the Atlantic Ocean.
As a West Point graduate and retired U.S. Army field artillery officer, Force’s death landed close to home for many Americans who felt the impact of terrorism in the Middle East for the first time.
Force’s death has also spurred new international interest in a program run by the Palestinian Authority that financially rewards terrorists and their families.
“If you die as a terrorist, as a ‘martyr,’ your family will get an annual stipend greater than the average Palestinian earns. In this case, the terrorist who killed Taylor Force…was hailed as a hero, was basically given a state funeral, and his family was given money by the state,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
According to Fox News, Graham is the leading sponsor of the Taylor Force Act, a Senate bill that hopes to discourage these payments. “The practice is inconsistent with American values, inconsistent with peace, and inconsistent with decency,” said Graham.
The Palestinian Authority receives over $300 million in aid from the United States government. According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Palestinian Authority allocated that same amount of money in 2016 in order to finance their “Martyrs’ Fund.”
With Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set to visit with President Donald Trump on May 3, Fox News speculates that the “Martyrs’ Fund” could be a topic of discussion between the two leaders.
If passed, the Taylor Force Act would cut all foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority if payouts to the families of terrorists continue.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon spoke with Fox News about the proposed bill. “I think nobody, no Israeli or no American, would be happy to know that his taxpayer money is being used to be paid for families of terrorism,” said Danon. “You actually encourage terrorism.”