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February 14, 2018 6:16 pm

House Unanimously Passes Bill Sanctioning Hamas for Using Human Shields

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Hamas supporters take part in a rally celebrating the 30th anniversary of the group’s founding in Gaza City on Dec. 14, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Mohammed Salem.

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill which sanctions the terrorist group Hamas and its collaborators for deliberately putting innocent people in harm’s way as a military tactic.

Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), who introduced the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act, said of the passage, “The world must face the threat of Hamas terrorists, as they continue to perpetrate atrocities against civilians and use them as human shields. I am grateful that the US House of Representatives took a stand today against this murderous terrorist group, and am hopeful that the Senate will pass H.R. 3542 quickly. I believe this legislation will help ensure the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians are spared by proactively imposing strong sanctions against Hamas.”

Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, echoed Wilson’s sentiments, saying, “Hamas has repeatedly put the lives of innocent Palestinians at risk by using them as human shields. These men, women and children are forced to serve as cover in Gaza for Hamas terrorists launching indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians. Today’s legislation rightly holds Hamas, an Iranian-backed terrorist group, accountable for these disgraceful and cowardly acts that violate international law.”

“Hamas is a terrorist organization, formed and wholly-dedicated to the destruction of our ally Israel,” said Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. “This legislation condemns Hamas’s barbaric use of human shields and imposes sanctions on those responsible, and I’m pleased it includes my amendment to highlight Hamas’s use of underground tunnel networks. The bill’s unanimous passage shows Congress’s continued strong, bipartisan support for Israel.”

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The bill, which will now be sent to the Senate, finds that “Hamas forces have repeatedly fired rockets … from civilian areas predominantly occupied by Palestinians including hospitals, mosques, and schools, putting Palestinian lives at constant risk.”

It further notes that Israel issues warnings to civilians in areas it is planning to strike, but “Hamas leaders routinely discourage Palestinian civilians from heeding these warnings, instructing them to remain in their homes, and, in some cases, force civilians to gather on the roofs of their homes to act as human shields.”

The bill also condemns Hamas’ use of child labor to build its attack tunnels.

To counter Hamas’ use of human shields, the bill levies sanctions on “foreign persons” who are “responsible for, complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing the use of human shields by Hamas,” as well as any person who facilitates such activity.

These sanctions include “blocking of property,” which outlaws “all transactions” in US property by those guilty of the above crimes, denial of entry to the US, and the revocation any entry visas they may currently hold.

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