By Raoul Wootliff - July 2, 2018
In the two years since his son was killed in a terrorist stabbing spree in the coastal Israeli city of Jaffa, Stuart Force has become a regular traveler from his home town in South Carolina to Washington, DC, where he lobbied US lawmakers to adopt a law limiting aid to Palestinians, until they end stipends for terror convicts and families of slain attackers.
On Monday, three months after the US congress passed the Taylor Force Act into law, Stuart Force traveled for the first time to Israel to see the Knesset pass a similar law to slash funds to the Palestinian Authority by the amount Ramallah pays out to convicted terrorists, a policy nicknamed “pay-for slay.”
Speaking to The Times of Israel ahead of the Monday evening vote, Force said he had made the journey in order to pay back the support he had been shown since the death of his son Taylor.
“The Israeli people have been so supportive of the Taylor Force Act, and it feels right for me to be here and support them,” he said. “t’s going to be very emotional for me to be there during the vote, I’m sure, but I’m glad to be witnessing it. It’s important to our family that I’m here.”
An MBA student at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and a West Point graduate, the 29-year-old Taylor Force was visiting Israel in March 2016 when he was stabbed to death by 22-year-old Palestinian Bashar Massalha. Force’s death elicited a passionate response from US lawmakers, who, in response, took up the hot-button issue of PA funding to Palestinian terrorists.
According to Israel’s Defense Ministry, the PA in 2017 paid NIS 687 million ($198 million) to the so-called “martyrs’ families fund” and NIS 550 million ($160 million) to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club — some seven percent of its overall budget.
Palestinian prisoners serving 20- to 30-year sentences for carrying out terror attacks are eligible for a lifetime NIS 10,000 ($2,772) monthly stipend, the Defense Ministry said, citing PA figures. Those prisoners who receive a three- to five-year sentence get a monthly wage of NIS 2,000 ($554). Palestinian prisoners who are married, have children, live in Jerusalem, or hold Israeli citizenship receive additional payments.
The Defense Ministry last month released figures alleging that some terrorists who killed Israelis will be paid more than NIS 10 million ($2.78 million) each throughout their lifetimes by the PA.
Stuart Force said he was shocked to learn of the payments, and bewildered at how countries, including the US and Israel, allowed their own foreign aid funds to the Palestinians to go to terrorists.
Read More: Times of Israel