Why We Need The Taylor Force Act

This is the summary of the Taylor Force Act (from congress.gov):

Passed House amended (12/05/2017)

Taylor Force Act

(Sec. 4) This bill prohibits certain FY2018-FY2023 economic support assistance that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority (PA) from being made available for the West Bank and Gaza unless the Department of State certifies that the PA, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any successor or affiliated organizations:

    • are taking steps to end acts of violence against U.S. and Israeli citizens perpetrated by individuals under their jurisdictional control, such as the March 2016 attack that killed former Army officer Taylor Force;
    • have revoked any law, decree, or document authorizing or implementing a system of compensation for imprisoned individuals that uses the sentence or incarceration period to determine compensation;
    • have terminated payments for acts of terrorism against U.S. and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been fairly tried and imprisoned for such acts, to any individual who died committing such acts, and to family members of such an individual; and
    • are publicly condemning such acts of violence and are investigating such acts.

This assistance limitation shall not apply to: (1) the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, (2) wastewater projects, and (3) children’s vaccination projects.

Withheld funds shall remain available for up to two years before being reallocated.

(Sec. 5) The bill prescribes initial and annual reporting requirements.

The important phrase here is that the Palestinians would be required to terminate payments for acts of terrorism to terrorists and their families.

Today The Times of Israel reported the following:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday ordered that the family of a Palestinian terrorist who murdered two Israelis be paid more than $40,000 and be given new housing, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Ramallah Governor Laila Ghannam, an Abbas appointee, met with the family of Muhannad Halabi and gave them some 30,000 Jordanian Dinars ($42,000), reportedly to help them cover housing costs since their home was destroyed by the IDF following the killings, Kan said.

Ghannam also told the family that Abbas had instructed his security services to help them find permanent housing. Home demolitions are a controversial policy that the IDF says helps deter future terror attacks.

The payments are the first high-profile payments to terrorist families since the Biden administration took office, despite claims that the Palestinians were willing to rethink the controversial policy as part of an effort to improve relations with Washington.

Halabi killed two Israelis, Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Banita, and injured Banita’s wife, Adele, and their 2-year-old son in a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem on October 3, 2015.

The article concludes:

Abbas severed relations with the Trump administration after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and moved the US embassy there from Tel Aviv in May 2018. He also preemptively rejected Trump’s January 2020 “vision” for Israeli-Palestinian peace. The administration, while repeatedly urging Abbas to reengage, drastically reduced state funding for the Palestinians. The Biden Administration has begun to restore aid to the Palestinians and warm ties.

With President Biden in office, America continues to find itself on the wrong side of history. We have no business using taxpayer dollars to pay terrorists.

Amazing Technology

On Thursday The Times of Israel posted an article about the use of artificial intelligence in archeology.

The article reports:

New research has revealed tantalizing evidence in the mystery of who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, identifying that two scribes were apparently behind one of the most famous of the manuscripts, and not just a single workman as had been largely assumed.

Harnessing the keen attention to detail of computer-assisted pattern recognition boosted by artificial intelligence, biblical and computer researchers from the University of Groningen in The Netherlands analyzed the Great Isaiah Scroll, one of the first of a trove of ancient scrolls discovered in the caves in the Qumran region near the Dead Sea in 1947.

That there were two scribes “sheds new light on the production of biblical manuscripts in ancient Judea,” the authors of the study wrote.

The results of the study by Mladen Popovic, a professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism, Lambert Schomaker, professor of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, and PhD candidate in Artificial Intelligence Maruf Dhali, all from Groningen, was published Wednesday in the PLOS ONE archaeological journal.

“Demonstrating that two main scribes, each showing different writing patterns, were responsible for the Great Isaiah Scroll, this study sheds new light on the Bible’s ancient scribal culture by providing new, tangible evidence that ancient biblical texts were not copied by a single scribe only but that multiple scribes, while carefully mirroring another scribe’s writing style, could closely collaborate on one particular manuscript,” they said.

The article concludes:

The researchers used digital images of the scrolls and were able to identify distinctive ink traces, unique to each scribe.

“This is important because the ancient ink traces relate directly to a person’s muscle movement and are person-specific,” they wrote.

By identifying individual scribes from the differences in their penmanship, archaeologists may be able to piece together the links between fragments of other scrolls and gain a better insight into their origins. The same process could also be applied to other ancient manuscripts in the future.

“The change of scribal hands in a literary manuscript or the identification of one and the same scribe in multiple manuscripts can be used as evidence to understand various forms of scribal collaboration that otherwise remain unknown to us,” the study said.

Wow.

 

Back To A Failed International Policy

On March 17th, The Times of Israel reported the following:

The Biden administration will reportedly push for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines, with mutually agreed upon land swaps, reinstating US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to more traditionally held positions than those of former president Donald Trump.

A memo titled “The US Palestinian Reset and the Path Forward,” which was revealed Wednesday to the Abu Dhabi-based The National, also showed that the Biden administration is planning on announcing a $15 million aid package in coronavirus-related humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians as early as this month.

Is anyone going to be checking on the Palestinians to see how that money is spent? Will the Biden administration enforce the Taylor Force Act?

The article reports:

Amr (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr) recommends in the memo that the White House back a two-state framework “based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps and agreements on security and refugees.”

While behind closed doors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has participated in peace negotiations based on the 1967 lines, publicly the formula is not very popular in Israel, particularly among the right wing, which is expected to further expand in the Knesset after next week’s election.

The memo discusses “rolling back certain steps by the prior administration that bring into question our commitment or pose real barriers to a two-state solution, such as country of origin labeling.”

The memo was referring to a last-minute policy change announced by Trump’s secretary of state Mike Pompeo, which requires all US exports from the settlements to be labeled as having been “made in Israel.”

The 1967 lines were an armistice agreement–they were never meant to be permanent boundaries. History has shown that the 1967 lines were not conducive to peace because they rendered Israel indefensible. If those lines are reinstated, the more radical Arabs in the Middle East will immediately go to war against Israel. This is not a recipe for peace.