‘Martyr payments’ to blame for potential U.S. cuts to Palestinian aid

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By Middle East Affairs

U.S. Congress is considering this week cutting $300 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority if it doesn’t stop making “martyr payments.”

The Taylor Force Act was named after an American military veteran who was stabbed and killed by a Palestinian during his visit to Israel in 2016.

The legislation would push for Palestinians to stop paying stipends of up to $3,500 a month to families of militants for being killed or imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

Israeli had police killed Force’s attacker, according to Reuters, so the attacker’s family receives the stipend.

The act is part of a spending bill, which the news agency says is likely to pass by Friday night.

Lindsey Graham, republican senator who introduced the legislation, lives in Force’s home state, South Carolina.

“Passage of the Taylor Force Act will give us much needed leverage with the Palestinians to push back on this outrageous policy,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Reuters said the measure has been working its way through Congress for some time because “despite the generally strong pro-Israel sentiment of most lawmakers, it was held up by the concern of some members of Congress that cutting too much aid could lead to increased unrest and instability in the Palestinian territories.”

Republicans hold majorities in both the House and Senate.

Reuters said Palestinian officials believe the payments are important for showing support of those who have been imprisoned by Israel for fighting against the occupation, or for dying for the cause.

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