Politics & Policy

Tragedy in Israel

Israeli flags line the funeral procession of Gilad Shaer. (Getty Images)
It’s time to end aid to the Palestinian Authority.

This week, three young boys were buried in Israel. The victims of kidnapping, they had been murdered by terrorists from Hamas.

The boys, Eyal Yifrach, 19; Gilad Shaar, 16; and Naftali Frenkel, a 16-year-old dual U.S.–Israeli citizen, were like any other children — their lives ready to be lived, their dreams ahead of them. They grew up in a nation that was at war but desperately wanted peace.

It is a peace they did not live to see, nor will others their age if action is not taken.

The Obama administration responded with its condolences to the families and to the state of Israel, as well it should have. But it also called, as it always does in situations like this, for restraint on the part of Israel.

How many times must Israel hear this call? Children are murdered — please show restraint. Cafés and buses are bombed — please show restraint. Towns are victimized by hundreds of rockets — please show restraint while you bury your dead once again.

I think it is clear by now: Israel has shown remarkable restraint. It possesses a military with clear superiority over that of its Palestinian neighbors, yet it does not respond to threat after threat, provocation after provocation, with the type of force that would decisively end their conflict.

But sometimes restraint can work against you. Sometimes you just have to say, enough is enough.

Nearly six weeks ago, I proposed a bill called the “Stand With Israel Act.” Its purpose was to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority if it allied with Hamas — the same Hamas that just murdered these three teenagers. 

So let’s be clear: U.S. taxpayer money may soon be going to an entity kidnapping and murdering Israeli and U.S. children.

That is unconscionable, and it must end.

There are those who have said my bill is unnecessary, that current law will allow the Obama administration to cut off the aid money.

I don’t believe that, and no supporter of Israel should believe that. Remember, the Obama administration did not respond to these murders by calling for Palestinian/Hamas aid to be cut off. Instead, they called for “restraint.” The Obama administration chose to lecture Israel instead of punish the perpetrators. 

I call for all aid to the Palestinian Authority — every penny — to be cut off. Not one more U.S. taxpayer dollar should flow to Hamas or to the Palestinian Authority as long as it is allied with Hamas.

Some say my position is too hard-line, too strong. To them I say, how many more children must die before it is acceptable to cut off the flow of money to terrorists?

I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting my Stand with Israel Act, and urge the Senate to take action immediately upon its return.

I asked for unanimous consent to pass this bill weeks ago. I will do so again next week. Whoever wants to come down to object will need to explain to the parents of these teenagers why the United States of America is funding their murderers.

— Rand Paul represents Kentucky in the U.S. Senate.

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