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March 22, 2019 10:00 am

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Sanction Financial Supporters of Hamas

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Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Feb. 24, 2017. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90. – A bipartisan bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives this week to sanction financial backers of Hamas.

Introduced by Reps. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act, if enacted, would slap financial penalties on foreign persons, agencies and governments that assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or their affiliates.

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are US-designated terrorist groups.

“Following my service in the Army, I chose to volunteer alongside the Israeli Defense Forces because our countries share the common ideals of freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people. Hamas preaches destruction to Israel and death to the values we hold dear in the United States,” said Mast. “The United States must not tolerate anybody who provides support to these radical Islamic terrorists.”

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Gottheimer said “the terrorist group Hamas is well-known for firing rockets and digging terror tunnels into Israel, and using Gazans, including women and children, as human shields. It is critical that the United States and our allies continue to isolate Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad by cutting them off at the source.”

“I am a firm believer in a two-state solution, but a Palestinian state will never be born from terror,” said Engel. “The rockets raining down on Tel Aviv in recent days are only the latest reminder that Hamas has no interest in peace.”

He added that the legislation “sends an important message that terrorism only denigrates the Palestinian cause and sets back the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

“As we saw just last week, Hamas continues to threaten Israel with rockets, incendiary balloons and any other weapon it can get its hands on. Hamas relies on a vast network of smuggling and international support, including from Iran, to maintain its arsenal,” stated McCaul.

Hamas launched two rockets last week from Gaza towards Tel Aviv, prompting Israel to retaliate immediately by striking more than 100 Hamas targets.

“These sanctions are a long overdue measure to make clear that as long as Hamas continues this campaign of violence, its members and anyone who seeks to fund or support this terrorist organization will be held accountable,” added McCaul.

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