Columns

America and Israel Share a Strong Bond

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Washington, December 8, 2017 | Beth Breeding (2022255431) | comments
In March of last year, 28-year-old Taylor Force, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan from Texas, was in Israel for a school trip as part of his graduate studies. By all accounts, he was a young man with great potential. But tragedy struck during that trip when Taylor was brutally murdered in an attack by a Palestinian terrorist.

The loss of this young man is heartbreaking. It’s even more disturbing when you learn that the family of his killer will receive payments from the Palestinian Authority as a reward for his murder. This Palestinian policy allows for payments to be made to terrorists serving time in Israeli jails who have committed acts of violence against Israelis or Americans. If the attackers are killed, payments are then made to their surviving family members. In no uncertain terms, this policy only serves to incentivize violent terrorist attacks against innocent people, like Taylor Force. And it’s extremely perplexing that the United States continues to provide economic aid to the Palestinians to promote peace in the region. Someone from the Sixth District recently wrote to me and said, “there will never be peace between Israelis and the Palestinians so long as one of these parties funds terrorism against the other.” I agree.

The Taylor Force Act, which I have cosponsored, is a simple bill. It would withhold U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority until it terminates its “pay to slay” scheme. Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed this bipartisan bill to help hold the Palestinian Authority accountable with the goal of preventing future victims of this violence. Payments to these terrorists must stop.

President Trump took another significant step in recent days by rightfully recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Many presidents before him have promised to do this, and I commend the President for making the position of the United States clear. Jerusalem is indeed the capital of Israel. The Administration will also explore moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The House and Senate have voted three times to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, including by enacting the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which I supported in 1995. Members of both parties have supported this effort.

The United States and Israel have a strong bond of shared democratic values and common security interests. The President’s recognition of Jerusalem further bolsters the importance of this relationship. Additionally, passage of the Taylor Force Act by the House emphasizes the need for peace in the region. As efforts over the years have proven, it will not be an easy process. Nevertheless, America must continue to play an active role in achieving a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.
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