TAYLOR FORCE ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 200
(Extensions of Remarks - December 07, 2017)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1674-E1675]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            TAYLOR FORCE ACT


                               speech of

                         HON. ANTHONY G. BROWN

                              of maryland

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, December 5, 2017

  Mr. BROWN of Maryland. Mr. Speaker, today in Israel and Palestine--
it's hard to see fertile ground for peace. Peace is cultivated by 
tolerance and mutual understanding; when we work to move beyond hatreds 
and accept paths of compromise.
  I'm disappointed that the Palestinian Authority has continued to fund 
further bloodshed and hatred by tolerating, encouraging, and even 
glorifying violence. They do so by making payments to those who kill in 
the name of hatred. This year alone, the Palestinian Authority has 
devoted hundreds of millions of dollars in its budget to provide 
payments to Palestinians in prison for terrorist attacks, and to the 
families of those who died while carrying out such attacks.
  The Palestinian system provides more money to those who serve longer 
sentences, meaning the more heinous the attack--the greater the 
financial compensation. These payments are higher than the assistance 
provided to Palestinians living in poverty, and is four times higher 
than the average salary in the West Bank.
  There is no question that this policy of financially rewarding 
convicted terrorists is abhorrent and must stop.
  We've heard a lot about Captain Taylor Force--a U.S. citizen, a West 
Point graduate, and U.S. Army veteran who had survived combat in Iraq 
and was studying entrepreneurship at Vanderbilt University. Like the 
men and women with whom I served during my 30 years in the Army, Taylor 
was an American patriot whose future was bright. Yet his life was 
stolen from him by a knife-wielding terrorist. Shortly after the murder 
of Taylor, Fatah--the political party of President Mahmoud Abbas--
posted a statement online praising Captain Force's attacker as a hero 
and ``martyr.'' Taylor wasn't murdered by a single assailant, but by a 
political cultural and political system that foments hatred and rewards 
  Yes, I understand the opposing arguments that seek to justify these 
payments or attempt to explain the context of the historic and 
political relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. Yet, the 
violence is unacceptable and cannot be supported by payments to those 
who commit violence.
  There is no reason to believe these payments will end, without strong 
external pressure--and year after year, the United States is the 
largest donor to the Palestinian Authority. The United States 
government is right to seek a way to convince President Abbas to end 
this horrible behavior that incentivizes violence against civilians and 
who sees this as ``an integral part of the weave of Arab Palestinian 
society.'' Conditioning our Economic Support Funds might finally 
convince President Abbas to end financial support for terrorists and 
their families.
  It's important to note that the House version of this bill preserves 
humanitarian democracy assistance, that has a direct impact on the 
daily lives of Palestinians--it will keep a network of hospitals 
running in East Jerusalem, allow for investments in wastewater 
infrastructure projects, and continue childhood vaccinations.
  While the Taylor Force Act aims to push the Palestinian Authority to 
stop rewarding hate, violence, and terrorism, we need to do more to 
change the underlying culture of intolerance between the Israelis and 
Palestinians. Congress should consider increasing alternative forms of 
assistance outside of our traditional programs--assistance that could 
counter the influence of incitements and support civil society.
  USAID oversees a $26 million people-to-people reconciliation fund--of 
which $10 million is allocated annually for the Israeli-Palestinian 
conflict--through its Conflict Management and Mitigation program. These 
grants provide funding for Israeli and Palestinian NGOs that bring 
people together to change attitudes and build bridges, like the Center 
for Shared Society that goes into schools to increase dialogue between 
Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Jewish youth. When I visited Israel in August, 
I heard directly from prominent Arab Israelis who described to me how 
effective these programs are.
  We should also support economic partnerships that promote the least 
ideological and most pragmatic elements of Palestinian society--like 
tech companies and startups--that will increase economic opportunities 
and improve the quality of life for Palestinians. These include the 
``Peace for Profits'' initiatives.
  Directing U.S. taxpayer dollars towards these program, would send a 
loud and powerful signal that we remain invested in Palestinians and 
are choosing those who promote reconciliation and peace over those who 
support violence. The Taylor Force Act gives us an opportunity to 
reassess our assistance to the Palestinians. And we must do it in a way 
that brings us closer to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

[[Page E1675]]