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The Legacy of Taylor Force

December 11, 2017
Press Release
Op-ed Written by Congressman Lee Zeldin

Taylor Force was a U.S. Army veteran and graduate of West Point. He served our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan and then was brutally murdered by a Palestinian terrorist during an educational tour to Israel in March of 2016. Taylor’s family is just one of the many American and Israeli families who have been robbed of a loved one at the hands of these Palestinian terrorists.

In fact, the Palestinian Authority (PA) incites and rewards this type of violence against innocent Americans and Israelis. The PA, which receives U.S. taxpayer funding, calls their terrorists “martyrs”. They give them burials as if they were heads of state and financially rewards these terrorists for their horrific acts; terrorists just like the one who murdered Taylor Force.  

Taylor Force lives on in the hearts of his family, friends, and fellow Americans who will never forget the sacrifice he made for our nation, and, last week, Taylor’s legacy was further cemented as the House unanimously passed the Taylor Force Act. It has been an honor to be the original cosponsor of this legislation.

The values that inspired the Taylor Force Act are the same values that drove Taylor Force to sign up for the United States Military Academy at West Point, to deploy into combat, and to risk everything to protect his country, our flag, and the ideals it represents. 

The values of the Palestinian Authority incite violence, reward terrorism, and inspire hate. In stark contrast, Taylor Force embodied the values of our great nation - service, commitment, and the willingness to sacrifice for what we know is right.  

Taylor’s legacy is already affecting a change in policy, and as his parents looked on from the House Gallery as we passed the Taylor Force Act, I think the only person who may have been more proud would be Taylor himself. 

The Taylor Force Act withholds economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it publicly condemns these acts of violence and stops inciting and rewarding the terrorists who perpetrate these horrific crimes, therefore protecting the innocent Americans and Israelis who are targeted each and every day. These terrorists should not be celebrated or financially rewarded, especially not with U.S. tax dollars.

We must stand in solidarity with Taylor Force, his family, and the many other American and Israeli families who have been impacted, by better leveraging every resource we have, including the power of the purse, to hold the Palestinians accountable for their abhorrent support of the murder of innocent Americans. 

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Co-Chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, and the original co-sponsor of the Taylor Force Act.