Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) this week introduced the Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act, legislation aimed at eliminating Palestinian Authority government “martyr payments,” otherwise known as Ramallah’s “pay to slay” program.
The bill would deter foreign banks from processing these payments for the Palestinian Authority by cutting off their access to the United States financial system.
To see the text of the bill, click here.
The bill was co-sponsored by myriad lawmakers, including Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Senator Mike Braun (R-Indiana), Senator Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Senate Steve Daines (R-Montana), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Senator John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida), Senator John Thune (R-North Dakota), Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), and Senator Todd Young (R-Indiana).
Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) is leading companion legislation in the House.
The Republican Jewish Coalition, Christians United for Israel, and the Zionist Organization of America support the legislation.
Taylor Force Act
The Palestinian Authority officially allocates seven percent of its annual budget for its so-called “Martyr’s Fund,” the “pay for slay” funding that provides generous monthly stipends to Palestinian Authority terrorists in Israeli prisons, and the families of those killed while attempting to murder Israelis.
The size of the monthly payouts depends on the number of Israelis killed, the length of incarceration and the size of the terrorist’s family.
Under the Trump Administration, the issue became the impetus for the so-called Taylor Force Act, which ended US aid to the Palestinian Authority until its government ceases its “pay for slay” policy. The law was passed in response to the 2018 murder of Taylor Force, a US Army veteran murdered by a Palestinian Authority terrorist during a stabbing attack in Jaffa (Yafo). Force was visiting Israel at the time.
Since the start of President Joe Biden’s term in office, his administration has studiously ignored compliance with the Congressional Taylor Force Act, which prohibits American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until its government ceases paying stipends through the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists.
The Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act is intended to strengthen and build on the original Taylor Force Act passed in 2018.
Banks ‘Should Be Held Responsible’
“Radical Islamic terrorists shouldn’t be rewarded for killing innocent people, and banks should be held responsible for processing any sort of ‘martyr payments.’ Our bill will build upon the original Taylor Force Act to ensure Palestinian terrorists don’t benefit financially for committing these senseless murders,” Cotton said in a statement.
“Our bill seeks to prevent any financial benefit these terrorists are promised for murdering innocent civilians by penalizing foreign banks that allow these ‘pay to slay’ transactions to occur unimpeded,” Lamborn said, adding that the bill has already garnered bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. “I will never waver in the fight to bring justice to the Force family and all those who have been victims of these horrific crimes,” Lamborn pledged.
‘Not a Theoretical Problem’
Stuart and Robbi Force, the parents of Taylor Force, thanked Cotton, Lamborn and their co-sponsors for reintroducing the Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act, which they noted would provide the US government with an “important new tool” to incentivize foreign banks to get out of the martyr payment business and to deny them access to the US financial system if they do not do so.
“Speaking from personal experience, we can say that this is not a theoretical problem,” the couple said.
“The family of the terrorist who murdered Taylor, celebrated as a hero by Hamas, has been receiving martyr payments as a reward for his despicable actions.
“No foreign bank from any country, particularly those which claim to be US allies, which participates in rewarding those who kill innocent Americans should be able to evade responsibility.”
The couple thanked the bill’s co-sponsors “for helping us ensure that Taylor did not die in vain.”