The U.S. Congress is set to pass legislation to sharply reduce its annual $300 million aid package to the Palestinian Authority unless it take steps to stop making what U.S. lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crime.
The measure, known as the Taylor Force Act, is expected to pass the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate this week as part of a massive spending bill unveiled on Wednesday.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, introduced the new anti-Palestinian legislation. Graham, like most U.S. lawmakers, is strongly pro-Israel due to the influence of the powerful Israel lobby in the U.S. Congress.
The Act is intended to stop the Palestinian Authority from making payments to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned by Israeli forces.
More than 300 Palestinians lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October 2015.
The Israeli government and the Donald Trump administration recently increased pressure on the Palestinian Authority to stop payments to families of those killed by Israel.
In January, Trump threatened to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars to Palestinians if they refuse to participate in US-brokered “peace talks” with Israel.
The US State Department said in January Washington will cut around one third of its contributions to UNRWA for 2018, creating a financial crisis for the relief agency which supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees.
The occupied Palestinian territories have seen tensions ever since Israel introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem in August 2015.
Israel has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.
Palestinians were infuriated by Trump's decision last December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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