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October 12, 2018 3:16 pm

Top US Jewish Groups Welcome Senate’s Approval of Human Shields Act Targeting Hamas and Hezbollah

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Hamas terrorists. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Top US Jewish groups have welcomed the Senate’s passage on Thursday of legislation designed to counter the use of human shields by two main anti-Israel terrorist organizations.

“We applaud the US Senate for unanimously passing the STOP (Sanction Terrorist Operations) Using Human Shields Act, co-authored by U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.),” Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement. “This bill requires the president to identify and impose sanctions on each foreign person who is a member of or acting on behalf of Hezbollah and Hamas who knowingly orders, controls, or otherwise directs the use of civilians to shield military objectives from attack.”

“The bill had 50 bipartisan Senate co-sponsors, and reflects the Senate’s broad consensus to punish all who engage in this inhumane and barbaric practice,” Stark and Hoenlein continued. “We eagerly await the bill’s swift passage through the House of Representatives, President Trump’s signature, and the vigilant implementation of this additional authority.”

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said it “commends the U.S. Senate for adopting last night the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (H.R. 3342). The bipartisan legislation — authored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) with an amendment by Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) — mandates sanctions against members of Hamas and Hezbollah responsible for the use of human shields as well as agencies of foreign states that support these groups in this heinous practice.”

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“Hamas and Hezbollah are blatantly violating international law by placing their terrorist infrastructure among civilian populations,” AIPAC added. “In any future conflict in Gaza or Lebanon, the lives of innocent civilians will be endangered because of the reckless and illegal behavior of these terrorist organizations.”

“We urge the House of Representatives to adopt this important legislation,” it concluded.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said, “The US Senate has taken an important and praiseworthy step forward in the war on terror and is sending a strong message to terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah that their cynical use of innocent civilians to promote their callous acts of violence will not be rewarded.”

“Every terror group that cowardly hides behind women and children while using hospitals and schools as bases to attack civilians, in clear violation of both international law and basic moral values, should be held accountable and punished,” Lauder went on to say. “We hope that the House of Representatives, and subsequently, other governments and nations, will follow suit in such moves, to work together to help bring security and stability to the Middle East and the wider world.”

Cruz said, “I commend the Senate for unanimously passing our bipartisan bill. Terrorist groups, including Iranian proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah, have made the use of human shields a routine tactic. This bill signals to the rest of the world that America will hold accountable anyone who uses civilians as shields to achieve military ends, as well as their enablers. I encourage the House to come together and pass our bill as soon as possible.”

Donnelly said, “I’m proud the Senate has passed my bipartisan legislation, introduced with Senator Cruz, that would impose sanctions on those responsible for the use of human shields. The use of human shields is barbaric and illegal, and terrorist groups — including Hamas and Hezbollah — must be held responsible when they engage in this reprehensible practice.”

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