US House of Representatives Passes Tough New Measures Targeting Hezbollah, ‘Iran’s Leading Terrorist Proxy’
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee declared on Wednesday that the US had sent an unmistakable message to Iran’s Lebanese Shia proxy, Hezbollah, with the passage by the House of Representatives of three new measures targeting the terrorist organization’s financing and recruitment operations.
“Hezbollah is Iran’s leading terrorist proxy, and it is only growing more dangerous,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), said in a statement announcing the new measures, which were introduced with bipartisan support. “It now has an arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets aimed at Israel and has become battle-hardened while propping up the murderous Assad regime (in Syria) alongside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”
Royce continued: “Hezbollah has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, including Americans. With the House’s action today, we send a strong message that the United States will not allow this threat to go unchecked. These critical measures will impose new sanctions to crack down on Hezbollah’s financing, and hold it accountable for its acts of death and destruction.”
The legislation passed by the house comprises three distinct measures. The first, Royce said, “sanctions regimes that provide weapons to Hezbollah, target Hezbollah’s fundraising and recruiting efforts – including through innovative crowdsourcing techniques – and give the administration tools to respond to Hezbollah’s global criminal network.” The second, authored by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), imposes “targeted sanctions on Iran and Hezbollah for the use of civilians as human shields,” while the third, authored by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) urges the European Union “to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and increase pressure on it and its members.”
American Jewish groups were quick to praise the new legislation, with the American Jewish Committee (AJC ) expressing particular satisfaction with the passage of Deutch’s measure pushing the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terror group – a measure cosponsored by a bipartisan group of eight congressional representatives, including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
“Pressing the EU to do the right thing, and finish what the 28 members started to do in 2013, is essential to effectively countering the global Hezbollah threat,” AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy Jason Isaacson said in a statement.
Four years ago, the EU designated what it described as Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization, but did not address its so-called “political wing.”
“The EU stands oddly apart, clinging to the apparent belief that it can tame Hezbollah’s behavior, a proposition unsupported by evidence, and convincing itself of a division between the organization’s ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings, when, in reality, Hezbollah is a single, unified terrorist entity,” Isaacson remarked.
Earlier on Wednesday, the IDF revealed that Hezbollah’s forces on Israel’s border in the Golan Heights were under the command of veteran terrorist Mounir Shaito. An IDF spokesman said that Shaito was carrying out “Iran’s mission” in the Golan.