Stop this “Pay for Slay” Insanity

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Taylor Force was an American hero who had his entire life in front of him. This tall, dark, handsome graduate student from Vanderbilt University had completed two tours of duty with the United States army in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ironically, Taylor come back from both of these war zones completely unscathed, only to be stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist, as he was walking close to the beach in Tel Aviv.

Taylor is not the first American to have been killed by Palestinian terrorists. He is the 69th, (plus two unborn babies), since the signing of the Olso Accords, and he is the 144th since the 1967 War.

Taylor is no more or no less deserving of justice than any of the others, all of whose cases are equally compelling.

However, because he is an American hero that every parent would be proud to call his son, he is the perfect embodiment of all that has been wrong with the P.A, and all that has been horribly wrong with America’s State Department policy until now.

The Palestinian Authority, (P.A.), which many in our State Department has propped up as the “good cop” while painting Hamas as the “bad cop”, has an egregious “pay for slay system”. The more Israeli civilians are killed, (and anyone, who, unfortunately, like Taylor Force, resembles an Israeli), the greater the payment to the terrorists, and their families. It is known interchangeably as “The Prisoners’ Fund” of the “The Martyrs’ Fund”.

When Taylor Force was killed, the P.A. celebrated his murder, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it “”a heroic act”.

If a terrorist kills enough civilians, he and his family get the same payment as the highest ranking general in the P.A Police Force, $3429 a month. If he is in prison for the rest of his life or “martyred”, his family receives the payments indefinitely.

This has been painstakingly documented since 2011 when it was first uncovered by Palestinian Media Watch ( According to PMW:

“In April 2011, the Palestinian Authority Registry published a Government Resolution granting all Palestinian prisoners imprisoned in Israel for security and terror-related offenses a monthly salary from the PA (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 15, 2011). This new resolution, called PA Government Resolution of 2010, numbers 21 and 23, formalized what has long been a PA practice.

The PA defined which Palestinians would be considered “prisoners”: “Anyone imprisoned in the occupation’s [Israel’s] prisons as a result of his participation in the struggle against the occupation” (Ch. 1 of Law of Prisoners, 2004/19,, accessed May 9, 2011)

According to the PA definition, more than 4,500 Palestinian prisoners (as of December 2012) serving time for terror-related offenses are recipients of PA salaries. This means that Palestinians convicted of crimes such as theft do not receive a salary, but Hamas and Fatah terrorist murderers do.”


This is well known throughout the areas controlled by the P.A. and Hamas and is now widely known throughout the Muslim and Arab world. It is codified, (as much as anything is within the P.A.’s shoddy accounting system), and there is actually a P.A. appointed “Minister of the Prisoner’s Fund.”

For many living in the areas controlled by the P.A., because of difficult family dynamics, sexual deviancy or poverty, becoming a “martyr” is a socially acceptable way of breaking out of the poverty cycle and of bringing honor to the family.

This only serves to incentivize Palestinian terrorism. And in the eyes of the radical Islamic terrorist, every time an American or an Israeli civilian is killed they are all reinforced in their desire to create an Islamic caliphate and to murder and Western “infidels” that stand in their way.

Ultimately, therefore this is dangerous for America’s national security interests. When America turns a blind eye towards the murder of its own citizens in some sort of attempt to “prop up” any sort of political entity, we are devaluing the life of all Americans. We and telling would-be terrorists around the globe, that “certain” American lives are less valuable than others, and are giving a “pass” to all Islamic terrorism.

However, since the signing of the Oslo Accords, America has turned a blind eye t this morally-inverted system.

America donates $400,000 annually to the P.A., and it is not a logical leap to conclude that some of our taxpayers’ dollars have gone directly into the hands of these terrorists or their families.  In 2016, the United Sates spent $129 million to the families of imprisoned terrorists, and $174 million to the families of the “martyred terrorists.”

On February 28th, Senators Lindsey Graham, (Republican, South Carolina), Roy Blunt, (Republican, Missouri), Tom Cotton , (Republican , Arkansas) and Ted Cruz, ( Republican, Texas), together with Congressmen Doug Lamborn, (Republican, Colorado) and Lee Zeldin, Republican, New York) introduced the Taylor Force Act to end this egregious “pay for slay” system.

The Taylor Force Act will end all payments to the Palestinian Authority until the State Department can certify that the PA is taking “steps to end the violence”, “is publicly condemning acts of violence” and “has terminated payments for such acts of terrorism”.

Will it end all acts of Palestinian terrorism? That’s doubtful. The entire society has been marinated in a culture of incitement to hate and to kill. At least, however, we will be sending a signal that America are no longer “patsies”.

As Senator Lindsey Graham said when he introduced the bill, “Can you imagine growing up in a country where your government will pay you for killing someone else through a terrorist act, and if you really want to help your family, you can earn more dying than you can living? We are going to change all of this. We’re going to get the Palestinian Authority’s Attention by withholding their money.”

Please call your Senator or Congressman and urge him to please support the Taylor Force Act. You can reach your elected official at (202) 224-3121.

This article was printed in Kol HaBirah.

Photo credit: Rep. Lee Zeldin’s Office

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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