WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today issued a statement regarding the inclusion of a provision to include the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in existing provisions that restrict funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the 2017 State, Foreign Operations Appropriations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act. The State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs subcommittee passed the legislation out of committee today, and the full committee is expected to markup this legislation tomorrow.
“Payments that reward and encourage terrorism must stop,” said Coats. “I am glad the subcommittee included this morally imperative provision in the bill. These payments by the PLO under Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas provide rewards and motivations for brutal terrorists, plain and simple. To provide U.S. taxpayer money to Abbas and his government so that they can treat terrorists as heroes or glorious martyrs is morally unacceptable. It ends with this legislation.”
Last week, Senator Coats delivered remarks calling for the United States to take action on this very issue. You can watch his remarks here.
Since 2014, there have been at least 45 terrorist attacks in Israel that killed 85 people, including Taylor Force, a U.S. Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in March. Since 1998, the PA has been encouraging terrorist attacks against Israel by honoring and supporting Palestinian terrorists who are serving criminal sentences in Israeli prisons and financially rewarding the families of these Palestinians “martyred” by their own violent acts.
In 2014, Coats co-sponsored an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 State/Foreign Operations appropriations bill that provided for the reduction of budgetary support for the PA “by an amount…expended by the Palestinian Authority as payments for acts of terrorism…” This provision became law. In May 2014, Abbas issued a presidential decree that moved this payment system from the PA to the PLO, effectively sidestepping the increasingly critical scrutiny of this payment system by foreign governments.
Palestinian terrorist prisoners are regarded by the PA as patriotic “fighters” and as employees of the government of the PA. While in prison, these terrorists and their families are paid premium salaries and given extra benefits as rewards for their service. Upon release from custody, the terrorists become civil service employees. Shockingly, monthly salaries for both incarcerated and released prisoners are on a sliding scale, depending on the severity of the crime and length of prison sentence.
Abbas’ sidestep is simply a shell game designed to avoid cutoff of aid by the U.S. and other countries.