The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act (H.R. 3542), which sanctions Hamas — an Iran-backed terrorist organization — for using civilians as human shields – a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.
The bill will now head to the Senate.
“Hamas has repeatedly put the lives of innocent Palestinians at risk by using them as human shields,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) said during the hearing. “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.”
The legislation, introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), was advanced in the House last November. Breitbart News reported at the time:
HR 3542 imposes sanctions against Hamas for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, such as the use of civilians as human shields, and would sanction foreign governments and individuals for providing material and financial support to Hamas, which is recognized as a terrorist organization. The House passed similar legislation regarding Hezbollah last month.
The text of Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act states, “The President is urged to direct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (U.N.) to use U.S. influence at the U.N. Security Council to secure support for a resolution imposing multilateral sanctions against Hamas’s use of human shields.”
Hamas was designated as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) by then Secretary of State Madeline Albright on October 8, 1997.
HR 3542 notes that “in 2010, Hamas forced children to work as laborers in the tunnel networks between Gaza and Egypt” and “on June 9, 2017, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency announced it had discovered Hamas tunnels under two of its schools in the Gaza Strip,” adding it was “unacceptable that students and staff are placed at risk in such a way.”
Hamas continuously utilized civilians as human shields throughout Operation Protective Edge in 2014, launching their attacks under protected conditions in a transparent attempt to drive up casualties to paint Israel in a bad light.
During the operation, the Israeli Defense Forces released a video documenting how Hamas had set up a rocket launching site just a few feet from a Gaza school.
“Hamas terrorists systematically exploit and choose to put Palestinians in Gaza in harm’s way and continue to locate their positions among civilian areas and mosques, proving once more their disregard for human life and holy sites,” an IDF spokesperson reportedly said.
On Monday, Israel’s Shin Bet security service accused Turkey of aiding Hamas to raise and launder funds for its military activities against Israel. The revelation reportedly came to light following the investigation of Cemil Tekeli, a Turkish national and Durgham Jabarin, an Arab Israeli citizen, who were both arrested in January.
“During the investigation, it became clear that Hamas is in direct contact with Turkish authorities,” the Shin Bet reportedly said in a statement. Tekeli was reportedly recruited by Turkey-based Zaher Jabarin, a senior figure in Hamas responsible for its finances.