TEL AVIV – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan bill to counter the use of human shields by terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The STOP Using Human Shields Act would see heavy sanctions imposed on terror groups employing “civilians or protected property to deliberately cause casualties or shield lawful targets from attack.”
The bill also requires the U.S. envoy to the UN to push a Security Council resolution demanding multilateral sanctions on terrorist groups that use human shields. The UN for its part would be required to monitor member states and terror groups.
The bill observed that Iranian proxy terror group Hezbollah “purposefully used civilians in an effort to shield themselves against attacks by Israeli forces” during the 2006 Second Lebanon War with Israel.
The Lebanese terror group was further charged with endangering civilians “by storing weapons inside civilian homes and launching attacks from firing positions in areas of dense civilian population, often in or near homes, schools, mosques or hospitals, in order to shield such positions from attack.”
Hezbollah is estimated to have received some 150,000 missiles since the conflict, in violation of United Nations Resolution 1701. “These weapons, as well as Hizballah command posts, logistics depots, and other vital military assets, are often concealed in Shiite villages in southern Lebanon, frequently within or near homes, hospitals, schools, and mosques,” the draft of the bill said.
Hamas was also slammed for “routinely and purposefully” using civilians as shields. Hamas has been engaged in “discouraging Palestinian civilians from heeding Israeli warnings, instructing Palestinian civilians to remain in their homes, and encouraging or forcing Palestinian civilians to gather on the roofs of their homes to act as human shields.”
The bill noted two instances in 2017 when Hamas terror tunnels were discovered under UN schools in the coastal enclave.
“The use of human shields — including by terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah — is barbaric, illegal, and offensive to the most basic standards of human decency,” said Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), a co-sponsor and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
His colleague on the committee, Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), said the “new sanctions category will give the United States Treasury Department another tool to cut off Hamas and Hezbollah from the global community.”
On Wednesday, terrorists in Gaza used a group of 20 children as cover for Palestinian sniper fire.
“A Palestinian in Gaza fired at IDF troops under the cover of 20 children that were sent towards the border fence as decoy,” the IDF spokesman said.
Soldiers from the Givati Brigade were lured to the Gaza border to disperse a fake “riot” put on by the children. A terrorist sniper then used the cover to shoot a soldier. The incident, which the IDF referred to as a “terror trap,” occurred less than a quarter mile from where Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi was killed on Friday by Hamas sniper fire.