Measure to limit Palestinian aid over ‘martyr payments’ due to pass US Congress

Demonstrators burn a poster depicting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during a protest on March 21. The US Congress is set to pass legislation that would sharply reduce US aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it takes steps to stop has been described as payments that reward violent crime. (Reuters)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Measure to limit Palestinian aid over ‘martyr payments’ due to pass US Congress

WASHINGTON: Legislation to sharply reduce the annual $300 million in US aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it takes steps to stop making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crime is set to be passed by the US Congress this week as part of a major spending bill unveiled on Wednesday.
The measure, known as the Taylor Force Act, was named after a 29-year-old American military veteran fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel in 2016.
The act is intended to stop the Palestinians from paying stipends, referred to as “martyr payments,” to the families of militants killed or imprisoned by Israeli authorities. The payments can reach $3,500 a month.
Force’s attacker was killed by Israeli police, and his killer’s family receives such a monthly payment.
US House of Representatives and Senate leaders reached an agreement on Wednesday on the massive omnibus spending bill, which they aim to pass by Friday night.
Force’s parents live in South Carolina, the home state of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who introduced the legislation.
“Passage of the Taylor Force Act will give us much needed leverage with the Palestinians to push back on this outrageous policy,” Graham said in a statement on Wednesday.
The measure has been working its way through Congress for some time. Despite the generally strong pro-Israel sentiment of most lawmakers, it was held up by the concern of some members of Congress that cutting too much aid could lead to increased unrest and instability in the Palestinian territories.
President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans control majorities in both the House and Senate.
Palestinian officials have said they see the payments as necessary support for relatives of those imprisoned by Israel for fighting against occupation or who have died in connection with that cause.


Arab coalition targets Houthi military camps in Sanaa

Updated 8 min 47 sec ago
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Arab coalition targets Houthi military camps in Sanaa

  • The raid included the Al-Dailami air base
  • The US blamed the Houthis on Thursday for the hold-up to a UN-led peace deal

CAIRO: The SArab coalition in Yemen launched raids on Houthi camps in the capital Sanaa, including the Al-Dailami air base, Al-Arabiya TV reported on Saturday.
The US ambassador to Yemen blamed the Iran-aligned Houthi movement on Thursday for the hold-up to a UN-led peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah and said Houthi weapons pose a threat to other countries in the region.