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Bipartisan Bill to Sanction Those Financing Hamas Terror Introduced in Congress

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides over the final of two House of Representatives votes approving two counts of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the House Chamber of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Dec. 18, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Jonathan Ernst.

A bipartisan bill that would sanction persons and organizations who help finance the Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad has been introduced in the US House of Representatives.

H.R.3685, titled the Hamas International Financing Prevention Act, was introduced by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Brian Mast (R-FL), and has 50 co-sponsors from both the Democratic and Republican parties.

The bill seeks to curb any financing of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terror groups, especially funds that circumvent already existing US sanctions.

Both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are already designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the United States government. But the bill’s co-sponsors cited reports of a surge in cryptocurrency donations to Hamas following its 11-day conflict with Israel in May, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that bitcoin funds have increasingly been used for the terror group’s military operations.

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Rep. Gottheimer, who serves as Vice Chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, said in a Wednesday statement, “Last month, the terrorist group Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel while using Gazans, including women and children, as human shields. It is critical that the United States and our allies continue to isolate terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad by cutting them off at the source.”

“This bill will strengthen sanctions to weaken these terrorist groups that threaten our ally Israel, undermine peace, and further destabilize the Middle East,” he asserted.

“I hope Congress will come together to pass the bipartisan Hamas International Financing Prevention Act so it can be signed into law,” he concluded.

Rep. Mast issued his own statement, noting that that he volunteered with the Israeli army following his service in the US military, “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,” he added. “The United States must not tolerate anybody who provides support to these radical Islamic terrorists.”

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