Update (9:30 a.m. Dec. 21)
In response to MyHighPlains.com’s request for comment, a spokesperson with the U.S. State Department said as a matter of practice, they do not comment on pending litigation.
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas District 13, along with Stuart and Robbi Force and Sarri Singer, recently filed a lawsuit in Amarillo Federal Court against U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Amarillo Division, alleges that the Biden administration violated the Taylor Force Act, passed by the U.S. President Donald Trump administration, by conducting transactions between the United States and the Palestinian Authority which Jackson alleges the Palestinian Authority used for “terrorist” activity.
Background to this Lawsuit
The Taylor Force Act was passed in 2018, preventing funds authorized to be made available for assistance “for the West Bank and Gaza that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority” until they take “credible steps to end acts of violence against Israeli citizens and United States Citizens…(and) have terminated payments for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens and United States citizens to any individual,” according to the bill.
According to reporting from EverythingLubbock.com, the act was named after Taylor Force, a Lubbock resident who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was killed in Israel in 2016 as a graduate student. Taylor Force’s Parents, Stuart and Robbi Force, are listed as co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Subsequent bills have been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives surrounding the act in 2021 and 2022. Titled the Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act in both portions of the U.S. Congress, the bill is asking for the U.S. Department of the Treasury to consider whether or not a “foreign financial institution” is of concern and to “the extent to which an institution, transaction or type of account is used to facilitate or promote payments for certain acts of terrorism against U.S. and Israeli citizens.”
Under the act, the payments cannot resume “unless the Secretary of State certifies that the Palestinian Authority is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against Israeli citizens and United States citizens,” according to the complaint.
Singer, the other co-plaintiff listed in the lawsuit, is identified as a New York resident in the complaint, stating that she was a survivor of an incident when a bomb exploded on a bus in Jerusalem that killed 17 people.
What does the complaint say?
The complaint said that the case surrounds an alleged program that the Palestinian Authority has conducted, providing “financial payments, social services, misinformation and indoctrination to incentivize “terrorist” attacks against persons living in or visiting the State of Israel.” Organizations allegedly paid under the program include Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
While the Taylor Force Act was passed in 2018, the lawsuit alleges that the Biden administration has transferred “hundreds of millions of dollars” of taxpayer funds to the Palestinian Authority, which they state is contrary to the act.
The legal team representing the plaintiffs cited a fact sheet from the U.S. State Department released on March 26, stating that since April 2021, “the United States has provided over half a billion dollars in assistance for the Palestinians, including more than $417 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinian refugees through UNRWA, $75 million in support through USAID, and $20.5 million in COVID and Gaza recovery assistance.”
“The U.S. government plans to provide an additional $75 million in economic assistance to the Palestinian people this year. Additionally, the United States is also providing $45 million for programs to support the security sector including important improvements to the rule of law,” the fact sheet stated.
The documents allege that Biden and Blinken transferred the funds with the knowledge that taxpayer dollars are subsidizing the program, along with “Palestinian incitement and violent extremism.”
“(The plaintiffs) sue to stop the defendants’ cynical subversion of the Constitution and the Taylor Force Act,” the documents read, “and to end the Biden Administration’s unlawful transfer of hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to directly benefit the Palestinian Authority.”
The documents claim that the actions from Biden and Blinken “damaged” the plaintiffs “by causing them emotional and physical injury and distress, by increasing their risk of injury and/or death when visiting Israel, and violating the separation of powers.”
The plaintiffs are asking for a court to declare all Economic Support Fund grants and awards “that directly benefit the Palestinian Authority” to be unlawful along with a permanent injunction that prevents Economic Support Funds from being available to benefit the Palestinian Authority.
As of Tuesday afternoon, no further documents have been filed in Amarillo Federal Court surrounding this lawsuit.
In a statement provided to MyHighPlains.com, Jackson said that he believes the defendants are breaking the law, alleging that U.S. taxpayer dollars are funding “terrorism in Israel.”
“I have deep respect for my fellow plaintiffs who have been tragically and directly impacted by Pay to Slay,” Jackson said in the statement, “and I am proud to be on the same team as we hold this failed administration accountable.”
MyHighPlains.com has reached out to officials with The White House and this story will be updated if they respond to our request for comment.