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Cruz introduces bill to impose sanctions on Palestinian officials for rewarding terrorism

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Cruz introduces bill to impose sanctions on Palestinian officials for rewarding terrorism

The End Palestinian Terror Salaries Act seeks to build on the Taylor Force Act to impose penalties on Palestinian officials who financially reward terrorists and their families.

 Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced legislation on Thursday to impose sanctions on Palestinian officials who reward terrorists.

The End Palestinian Terror Salaries Act would, within 90 days of being enacted, impose financial penalties on Palestinian officials who financially reward Palestinian terrorists and their families.

“Palestinian terrorists have wounded or killed more than a dozen Israelis over the last few months, including 45-year old American-Israeli Ari Fuld,” said Cruz. “The Palestinian government continues to provide hundreds of millions of dollars each year rewarding such terrorists and their families, providing an incentive for ever more violence.”

Fuld was stabbed to death in September by an Arab teenager in the West Bank. Despite being severely wounded, he got up and ran after the attacker, shooting him as other Israelis shopping in the area drew arms and rushed to the scene.

Fuld was soon pronounced dead at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem after doctors unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate him.

The terrorist was transported to a hospital and is currently behind bars. His family is scheduled to receive a monthly stipend of $392 from the Palestinian Authority over the next few years.

“It’s past time for Congress to impose direct costs on the Palestinian officials who manage the programs that provide these rewards,” said Cruz.

In March, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Taylor Force Act, which defunds most U.S. assistance to the P.A. for its “Martyrs Fund.”

Then in October, he signed the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, which will eliminate remaining U.S. funding for the P.A. next month.

“Eliminating such aid, which totaled $61 million this year even as other assistance was being cut, would deal a blow to Palestinian-Israeli security cooperation that both sides value,” reported the Associated Press. “The law would also require the Jerusalem offices of the U.S. Agency for International Development to close.”

It is unknown if Cruz’s bill will pass as a stand-alone measure or be inserted into spending legislation that must be passed by the end of the week. Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Companion piece to the Taylor Force Act

Several pro-Israel groups have already come out in support of the senator’s measure.

“We deeply applaud Senator Ted Cruz for his continuous courage in introducing this bill,” EMET founder and president Sarah Stern told JNS. “The Palestinian Authority, even after the passage of the Taylor Force Act, has continued to brazenly reward Palestinian terrorists or the families of the Palestinian ‘martyrs,’ who are the murderers of American and Israeli citizens, demonstrating the upmost of contempt to the will of the American people, our elected officials and the American taxpayer who end up paying these salaries.”

“The Palestinian leadership’s immoral ‘Pay for Slay’ must be stopped,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein told JNS. “For too long, the Palestinian Authority has been using American taxpayer dollars to reward terrorists for maiming and murdering U.S. and Israeli citizens. These incentives for violence and the P.A.’s constant promotion of hate are major obstacles to peace.”

“The National Council of Young Israel strongly supports the legislation,” its president, Farley Weiss, told JNS. “We helped start the issue in Congress 20 years ago with Congressman Matt Salmon to bring to justice Palestinian Arab terrorists who murdered Americans. Senator Cruz held a hearing in the Senate on this issue.”

“It is outrageous that the Palestinian Authority receives aid while using 7 percent of its budget to give financial backing to terrorists and their families including those who murder Americans,” he added. “They even name squares after such vile murderers and promote the mass murderers as heroes on their television shows and in their schools.”

Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein told JNS, “The Taylor Force Act was only the first step in the U.S. government’s attempt to stop at least some payments to Palestinian Arab terrorists.”

“The reaction of the [Palestinian] Authority has not been appropriate, so ZOA strongly endorses the imposition of sanctions on individuals within the P.A. who authorize such payments,” he continued. “Sen. Cruz has taken a very important step in keeping this issue alive. The sponsors of Palestinian terror should know that the U.S. congress will not rest until the actual payments are stopped to Palestinian terrorists and their families.”

Daniel Mariaschin, CEO and executive vice president of B’nai B’rith, echoed other groups in support of the legislation, noting its ties with the Taylor Force Act.

“This is a companion piece to the Taylor Force Act, which we have supported. If you’re going to predicate U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority on ending its support for terror, you should sanction officials who incentivize, excuse or reward it.”

However, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has not taken a position on the proposed legislation: “While we have not yet had an opportunity to review this newly introduced legislation, we strongly supported the Taylor Force Act, and we appreciate ongoing efforts to end this abhorrent practice,” spokesperson Marshall Wittmann told JNS.

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Foreign Affairs

Here’s hoping there’s a plan we don’t know about with North Korea

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Heres hoping theres a plan we dont know about with North Korea

In a move that many, including supporters on the right, are calling a move of weakness, the President reversed the Treasury Department’s additional sanctions on North Korea.

My Take

I’m just not sure what to make of this. I understand many have been concerned about how nicely the President has treated Kim Jong un, but I’ve always felt there was some sort of plan happening behind the scenes that would justify it. Now, I’m not so sure.

This move emboldens Kim to continue avoiding any compromise on his nuclear weapons program. It tells him and the rest of the world President Trump isn’t going to be playing hardball and intends to coax the North Korean dictator into signing some sort of agreement before the 2020 elections.

Dare I say, this seems very Obamaesque? Where’s the hardball? Where’s the threats against Rocketman? If there’s some sort of 4D chess being played in the background, I seriously hope we see it in play soon. This is a strange move.

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Immigration

Vice President reacts to Atlanta Mayor Bottoms’ move to turn away ICE detainees

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Vice President reacts to Atlanta Mayor Bottoms move to turn away ICE detainees

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms made headlines this week when she announced an executive order forbidding her city’s jails from accepting ICE detainees. It was a move that drew harsh criticism from both sides. The right obviously wanted her to work with immigration enforcement to ease the already-strained detention system for border patrol and ICE. The left told her this would only redirect ICE agents to use for-profit private jails.

But Bottoms was resolute despite the criticism.

“I, like many others, have been horrified watching the impact of President Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy on children and families,” Bottoms said in a statement. “My personal angst has been compounded by the City of Atlanta’s long-standing agreement with the U.S. Marshal’s Office to house ICE detainees in our City jail.”

Vice President Mike Pence brought up the issue in a speech he delivered to ICE employees in Atlanta.

Now, I know you’ve got a hard job. And unfortunately, with the debate in the public square today, sometimes it gets harder. I heard on my way down here that the mayor of Atlanta recently announced that the city government wouldn’t cooperate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when it comes to the detention of criminal illegal aliens in this city.

And I — it is amazing to think — the mayor actually said that she would, in her words, “not be complicit in an immigration policy that intentionally inflicts misery.” Well, I would say to the mayor that criminal illegal immigrants, gang members on our streets, are what inflict misery.

The flow of illegal drugs, like cocaine and meth and fentanyl, inflict misery and wreck our families and communities. Human trafficking inflicts misery. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the men and women who enforce our laws do not inflict misery. They bring safety and security to the people of Atlanta, and they deserve the respect of every elected official in this country.

My Take

It’s one thing to object to measures put forth by the federal government. This can be a good thing as the tenets of limited-government federalism teach us. DC is far too powerful right now and cities need to be willing to stand up just as individuals and states do.

But this move by Bottoms is nothing more than political fodder. She’s trying to build a name for herself as someone who stood up to the President’s immigration policy, but is putting her own city and citizens at risk as a result. When ICE has no place to detain criminal illegal immigrants, they often have no recourse but to release them. This may seem insane, but that’s the state of our immigration system thanks to people like Bottoms.

Keep in mind, they aren’t bringing “family units” or separating children from their families, which is the premise behind Bottoms’ protest. The people ICE brings to Atlanta jails are criminals. These are people who have, in many cases, done harm to people who live in Atlanta. For Bottoms to get political while putting her own citizens at risk is ridiculous.

Such is the state of a divided America where Democrats are willing to harm American citizens if it means scoring political points against President Trump. Mayor Bottoms should not be celebrated. She should be condemned for bowing to political expediency.

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Foreign Affairs

Mike Pompeo responds to Venezuela, Biden’s world tour, Hezbollah, and Israel

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Mike Pompeo responds to Venezuela Bidens world tour Hezbollah and Israel

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on Fox News last night to talk to Shannon Bream about the tumultuous state of affairs around the world and how the United States is handling them.

First, he discussed Venezuela and recent developments where Nicolas Maduro’s regime has essentially framed members of Juan Guaido’s team in an effort to jail and stop the opposition to his presidency there. The Secretary of State said they would hold Maduro’s regime accountable for their actions, but would not elaborate on how U.S. intervention in the poverty-torn nation would manifest.

He jabbed at potential Democratic 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is being allegedly courted by world leaders to run for the White House in hopes he could bring back proper relations. As Pompeo noted, our relations with world leaders is in a current state of positive action despite the President’s harsh stance with many of them.

As for Hezbollah, Pompeo said the U.S. would press Lebanon for the sake of its people to facilitate change from the anti-Israel, anti-American Hezbollah rule that has basically made the nation a pawn for Iran.

As for the Israel front. where Pompeo was speaking from, he said calls by people like Beto O’Rourke and others to undermine the conservative base shared by the United States and Israel would not help the situation. Only through the President’s peace plan can the Middle East move forward, according to Pompeo.

My Take

Until the Venezuelan government asks directly for help, there should be no action by the United States other than aid for the people. This is an internal affair. Just because the leadership is challenged doesn’t make it our problem. If there was ever a time when the United Nations should flex its puny muscles, that time is now and the place is Venezuela.

Any foreign leaders calling on Biden to replace Trump are doing so because they do not want the United States to continue to maintain and improve upon its position of strength on the world stage. They prefer the good ol’ days under President Obama when the United States was a pawn for many other nations.

Hezbollah must go. That’s not to say we need to be involved with that, but Lebanon will never be free and prosperous as long as they’re the proxy for Iran.

Lastly, the Secretary of State seemed to be echoing a notion that the President would push for a 2-state solution. If that’s the case, it’s a huge mistake. Otherwise, Pompeo is correct in asserting the backwards notions of the Democrats lashing out against President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

We’re in a time when foreign affairs are starting to take center stage. Yes, we have problems of our own, but to ignore the growing threats abroad would be a mistake. It’s good the administration is handling these issues.

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