I flew in early this morning from Israel where Anita and I led a 10-day Covenant Journey tour. These tours take college-age Christians to Israel for a transformational introduction to the land and the people of modern Israel. Students return with their faith renewed--and become stalwart advocates for Israel back on campus.
But as I departed from Ben-Gurion airport, Israel's southern border was under assault. Since yesterday, terrorists in Gaza fired more than 100 projectiles--mortars, rockets and missiles -- at the Jewish state's southern border.
When missiles are fired and the sirens blare, Israelis have just 15-30 seconds to rush into a bomb shelter. No Israelis were killed in yesterday's attacks, thank God. Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, a technological wonder, shot down some 25 mortars or rockets.
+ + Gaza missiles strike kindergarten yard.
In one case, however, a mortar hit near a kindergarten yard, spraying shrapnel that gouged chunks of concrete in nearby walls. The mortar exploded just minutes before children were to arrive.
The gruesome reality is that, if children had died in the attack there would have been rejoicing on the Palestinian side.
How do I know? Sadly, because it's happened before.
Palestinian terrorists attacked a bus on Israel's Haifa-Tel Aviv highway in 1978 and killed 38 people, including 13 children. It's the worst terror attack in Israel's history and its leader, Dalal Mughrabi, is celebrated as a hero and martyr in Palestinian culture. Schools, summer camps, even sports tournaments are all named after her, as Palestinian Media Watch reports.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has honored this terrorist with blood on her hands on several occasions. Worse, he openly pays terrorists who attack Israel, giving them handsome cash payments.
And he refuses to stop doing so, despite American passage of the Taylor Force Act, which bars U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues its heinous "pay to slay" policy.
But here's the thing. Incredibly, the new law is not being enforced. That's why I am asking you to join me now in calling on the U.S. Government to comply with the law and Fully Defund the Palestinians!
+ + The U.S. State Department is ignoring the Taylor Force Act.
Passed March 23, the Taylor Force Act is supposed to end U.S. taxpayer funding for Palestinian blood money payments. The measure requires the State Department to investigate and confirm to Congress that the Palestinian Authority:
- Has "terminated payments for acts of terrorism" against Israelis and Americans
- Has "revoked any law, decree, regulation, or document" authorizing pay to slay payments
- Is "publicly condemning such acts of violence and are taking steps to investigate" them
Despite the law, the State Department has failed within the specified time to certify to Congress that the Palestinian Authority is taking "credible steps to end acts of violence" against Israelis and Americans.
+ + Lawmakers call out the State Department
In response to State's failure, a coalition of fourteen members of Congress have now sent a letter to the newly-installed Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, urging him to "immediately suspend all aid payments to the Palestinian Authority." The lawmakers also called on Pompeo
"to make the cessation of this abhorrent practice that incentivizes terrorism a pre-condition for any U.S.-brokered peace talks between the sovereign state of Israel and the Palestinian Authority."
Today, I am asking you to join me in calling for the U.S. State Department to FULLY DEFUND the Palestinians until there is a verifiable end to payments to terrorists and the Palestinian Authority agrees to condemn Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis.
+ + Palestinian leadership brazenly doubles down
Just after the Taylor Force Act became law on March 23, the Palestinian Authority set aside $355 million in its 2018 budget to reward terrorists and their families. It's almost beyond belief, but the Palestinian Authority is set to spend about 44 percent of the foreign aid it receives on its so-called "martyrs fund," according to Palestinian Media Watch.
Please take action now. Your petition will be delivered to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the White House, and key members of Congress.
Thank you for joining with us!