The bill, named for former U.S. Army officer and Vanderbilt University graduate Taylor Force, an American citizen who was stabbed to death in Israel in March 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist, was introduced last Congress and was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. It was never voted on. The Act also conditions aid to the PA until it takes steps to end acts of violence against the U.S. and Israeli citizens, including publicly condemning acts of terrorism, and helping to bring Palestinian terrorists to justice.
Palestinian terrorists that are arrested and imprisoned by Israel are glorified by the PA as heroes and treated as employees of the PA government. While in prison, these terrorists and their families are paid salaries and receive benefits as rewards for their service. Since September 2015, 47 innocent people have been killed by Palestinian terrorists in Israel, including U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force, and at least 675 wounded. They have been harmed by car rammings, stabbings, shootings, and bombing attacks.Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, 69 innocent Americans, plus two unborn children, have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Israel and Judea and Samaria. The U.S. has never asked the Palestinian Authority to hand over killers of Americans for prosecution, even though U.S. law gives American prosecutors the necessary tools to seek justice. For well over two decades, EMET has been fighting for justice for those Americans victims of Palestinian terrorism in Israel and the disputed territories. EMET has focused on the unwillingness of the DOJ to indict, extradite, and prosecute a single Palestinian terrorist with American blood on his/her hands.
Since 2005, there has been an office within the DOJ – the Office of Justice of Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OVT) – to pressure the DOJ to prosecute. EMET’s Sarah Stern was instrumental in the initial creation of the OVT. This DOJ unit is meant to monitor acts of terrorism against Americans outside the U.S., to assist the living victims and their families, and, most importantly, to pressure the DOJ to bring to justice those terrorists who have harmed Americans anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, since its establishment, the office has not helped produce a single DOJ prosecution of Palestinian terrorists who have harmed Americans in Israel or Judea or Samaria. Neither the OVT, nor the DOJ, have ever adequately explained their unwillingness to prosecute these Palestinian terrorists.
In the years since 2005, EMET has doggedly been working to educate Congress about the DOJ and the OVT’s unwillingness to do their job and make sure that any Palestinian terrorist who harms an American is brought to justice. EMET has held a staff briefing on Capitol Hill, bringing in American victims and family members. EMET has also met with more than 100 offices to explain to them this issue. EMET has worked with a bipartisan group of House members, and Senators, to produce numerous letters to the DOJ, demanding prosecutions of these terrorists, and also assisted in finding co-sponsors for these letters. On November 4, 2015, thanks in large part to EMET’s tireless efforts, a Senate Subcommittee led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) held an oversight hearing, primarily focusing on Iranian funded Palestinian terrorism and civil lawsuits. And EMET prompted another hearing by Rep. Ron Desantis (R-FL), the Subcommittee Chairman for the National Security Subcommittee of Oversight and Government Reform, focusing on criminal prosecutions and the OVT. EMET originally brought this critical issue to the attention of Rep. DeSantis, and assisted the Subcommittee for the hearing. For the first time ever, a DOJ representative, Brad Wiegmann, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, who supervises the OVT and these prosecutions, was called to account for the DOJ’s lack of prosecution. He was also forced to agree to provide a report to the Subcommittee on DOJ/OVT progress.
EMET Founder and President, Sarah Stern, said, “For far too long, the Palestinian Authority has glorified the virtues of terrorism. That has been the very core of the problem for why there is no peace with Israel. A culture of glorification of terrorism has been part of the zeitgeist of the areas under PA control. The more heinous the act of terrorism, the more innocent civilians who have been killed, the greater the salary that has been paid out by the PA to the families of the prisoners of the terrorists. This is morally unconscionable.” She continued, “The Palestinians need to understand that there are serious consequences for their moral, political, and material support of terrorism. I strongly applaud Senator Lindsey Graham for reintroducing the Taylor Force Act, which sends a very strong message to the PA and all would-be terrorists that America will not turn a blind eye towards Palestinian terrorism. For far too long, people throughout the world have been fooled by the PA’s double message when it comes to terrorism, one to their own people in Arabic, and another in English to foreign diplomats and journalists. Fortunately, there are still members of the United States Congress who are not willing to allow American tax payers’ dollars be a party to this culture of deification of terrorism.”