QUESTION #1: What is the situation behind the ‘blood money’ being given to the Palestinian Authorities and what’s the bill before Congress that can hopefully correct it?


Lee Bender:

“…Actually ZOA has been promoting this type of legislation for many years, cutting of funding to the Palestinian Authority for many offenses. Some of the most egregious ones have just come out probably more recently and have gotten the attention of everybody. This is a bill that is making its way through Congress, which ZOA has been a major supporter of. Finally, the American/Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, only very recently seemed to jump on board. We’re talking about what’s called the Taylor Force Act. Taylor Force was actually a non-Jewish, American young man who was with the US military and was retired. He was in his 20’s. Last year, in March of 2016 he was visiting Israel and was on the beaches of Tel Aviv when he was stabbed to death, a tragic situation, by a Palestinian terrorist who was captured.

I think he might’ve been killed. I don’t remember the circumstances, but as a result of that, which gained the attention finally of many members of Congress, there’s been a push to finally seem to stop the program that is going on. What is the program? It’s known colloquially as Pay to Slay. Let me give you a little more background about this. The United States Government has been giving the Palestinian Authorities, this basically was formed in the early 1990s, approximately five to 600-million dollars a year. Palestinian Authority is of course the official authority of the Palestinian Arab people who basically have control over Judea Samaria or the West Bank. They don’t really have control of Gaza anymore.

Basically, these are funds that the United States gives. Funding comes from other sources as well around the world for the Palestinian Authority. I think actually that they get more per capita than any peoples on the planet. What do they do with some of the money? Well, some of the money is being diverted, has been diverted for many years now, openly paying the families of the so-called martyrs who have committed horrendous crimes and murders, stabbings, of Jews and Israelis and people in Israel. If they kill a person they get more money. If they kill themselves in the course of the defense of the act, then their families get money. If they’re in jail and they get a longer sentence, they get more money.

It has come to the point where the practices actually, they’re spending approximately 355-million dollars a year to give these salaries to these so-called martyrs. It incentivizes the killing of people. Taylor Force was an unfortunate person who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wasn’t even Jewish. They didn’t know that, but that wasn’t the point. It’s offensive that our tax payer dollars, not only as a Jew do I find this offensive as someone who is a supporter of Israel, but it’s offensive for any American that our tax payer dollars are being diverted to this kind of blood money payments.

Right now, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up various measures of the bill…At this point my understanding is that this was initially a Republican sponsored bill. As you know, these days it’s very difficult to get bipartisan support. Although, generally speaking, Israel is one of the few issues that gains bipartisan support. Finally, there seems to be some Democrats who are coming on board here. Especially if you are in an area where your congressmen or senators are Democrats, and that includes Pennsylvania of course since we have a Democratic Senator who happens to be up for election next year, Senator Bob Casey, make sure that you contact his office. They have to become accountable for the US dollars that are going to the Palestinian Authority. One of the things this bill is going to do is it’s going to force the state department to prove that the Palestinian Authority has in fact stopped the payments and has issued laws and regulations in their government that will prevent these kind of payments to be made in the future.”

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