The US House of Representatives passed the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, marking the first time since 2009 that all twelve appropriations bills have cleared the chamber on time. In a victory for taxpayers, the bill included an amendment from Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01), preventing American tax dollars from funding Palestinian schools named after terrorists and Nazi collaborators.

When asked about his amendment, Congressman Gaetz issued the following statement: “I recently had the privilege to spend some time in Israel with my Congressional colleagues. Before my trip, I learned that many schools run by the Palestinian Authority were named after terrorists. I asked the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority about them, and his response was dismaying. He didn’t hide the fact that these schools were named after terrorists. He simply shrugged, and said “We incite, they incite,” referring to Israelis. I’ve been haunted by this answer ever since, and find it horrifying that American tax dollars are being used to fund ideologies of hate and terror.”

Congressman Gaetz’s amendment cuts all funding to thirty-one separate schools named after terrorists. These include three schools named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian militant who was part of the infamous ‘Coastal Road Massacre,’ a 1978 terrorist attack that resulted in the death of 38 Israeli citizens, including 13 children. Mughrabi is venerated by the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian children are taught that she was a hero. In 2014, a student said “Dalal Mughrabi is a great leader. Our mothers give birth to thousands like Dalal, and she still walks among us…I am personally proud to attend the Dalal Mughrabi School.”

Another Palestinian elementary school is named after Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, known as “the Father of Global Jihad.” Azzam was a co-founder of Al-Qaeda, and Osama Bin Laden’s teacher and mentor. Another elementary school is named after Amin al-Husseini, a Nazi collaborator during World War Two. He prevented the release of 5,000 Jewish children, who were subsequently sent to their death in gas chambers.

“Indoctrinating children with ideologies of hate is evil, and the United States must not promote this behavior in any way whatsoever,” Congressman Gaetz said. “These schools, both in their names and in their curricula, glorify terrorism, hate, and genocide to students. Funding terrorist propaganda is morally repugnant, and glorifying these terrorists’ evil deeds is an affront to humanity. These schools — and the ideologies they promote — are a threat to Israel and to regional, national, and international security. I am glad that my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, recognize that supporting these schools is an utterly unacceptable use of US taxpayer dollars.”

The YESHA Council Chief Foreign Envoy Oded Ravivi congratulated his friend Representative Gaetz in a formal letter in which he stated: “The significance of this bill should not be overlooked. The Palestinian Authority should be receiving a clear message that the US government will no longer look the other way while terrorists are publicly glorified”

The Gaetz Amendment, amends the US government’s bill that authorizes and directs the US government how it can fund various initiatives including foreign aid. It amends the Appropriations Bill that authorizes funding for foreign aid (among many other government initiatives). The Gaetz Amendment puts restrictions on US taxpayer funds that is appropriated to the Palestinian Authority. It prohibits US taxpayer dollars to be spent on Palestinian schools that are named after (glorify) terrorists, and specifically lists 31 schools that are named after terrorists.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.