World News

U.S. House committee advances bill to limit aid to Palestinians

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would sharply reduce the $300 million (£227.83 million) in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops making what lawmakers described as payments that reward violent crimes.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee backed the Taylor Force Act by voice vote, without opposition, after earlier amending the legislation to allow exceptions such as continued funding for wastewater projects and children’s vaccinations.

Named after a 29-year-old American military veteran fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel last year, the measure is intended to stop the Palestinian Authority from paying stipends, which can reach $3,500 per month, to militants killed or imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

Force’s attacker was killed by Israeli police, but his killer’s family receives such a monthly payment.

To become law, the bill must pass the full House and Senate, and be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Congressional aides said they expect a vote in the House before the end of 2017. Similar legislation has been passed by two Senate committees, but there was no immediate word on when the full Senate might take up the bill.

Palestinian officials have said they intend to continue the payments, which they see as support for relatives of those imprisoned by Israel for fighting against occupation or who have died in connection with that cause.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Tom Brown