The passage into law today of the Taylor Force Act represents a particle of bipartisan good news amid an omnibus spending bill that is, as President Trump marked today, riddled with pork. It represents a first step toward calling the Palestinian authorities to account for paying their people to kill Jews — and others — and using American money to do so.
Sad to say, though, the memory of the magnificent American for whom this law is named deserves better than what the Congress gave him today. Taylor Force was a West Point graduate who became an officer of field artillery (its motto is “First to Fire”). Out of the Army, he was a graduate student when, at 29, he was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist in Israel.
Early versions of the Taylor Force Act would have brought to a halt nearly all American funding of the Palestinian Arabs if the Palestinian authority continued to underwrite terrorist families. Cutting off American funds, which are fungible, could have dealt a body blow to a Palestinian Arab regime that for years has been playing a cynical and lucrative double game.
And for a lot of money. Our government alone has been paying the Palestinian Arabs on the order of $400 million a year. The Jewish News Syndicate cites a report that the outlays for 2017 would come in at $363 million. JNS quotes Prime Minister Netanyahu as reckoning that the Palestinian Authority parlays something like $353 million a year to terrorists and their families.
By the time the Senate got done with the Taylor Force Act, though, the potential penalties for the Palestinians could cost them as little as a third of the U.S. funds. The penalty is bupkis. Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America tells us he is shocked by the final measure, even though it is getting praise from many other sources.
We share his reaction. What happened to the Taylor Force Act as it went through Congress reminds us of what happened to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which was gutted in the Senate. That deed was done at the last minute by Dianne Feinstein, through a waiver that allowed the President to hold off on moving the embassy for national security exigencies.
So Mrs. Feinstein — with the connivance of Charles Schumer — was able to delay the move of the American embassy for a generation. Is it going to take that long before the Palestinian Arab leadership feels the full force of the Taylor Force Act? It will be an early test of President Trump and his new leadership at the State Department and National Security Council.