House Passes Human Shields Act to Further Sanction Hamas

New York, NY

 Arthur Stark, Chairman and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued the following statement:

We applaud the US House of Representatives for adopting the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act (H.R. 3342). This timely legislation condemns the use of human shields and mandates critical new sanctions against Hamas, Hezbollah, and any foreign state agency that participates in this illegal and inhumane practice or provides support for those who do. The legislation is even more critical at this time, after tunnels have been located going from private homes in Lebanon into Israel’s sovereign territory and in the wake of months of organized demonstrations in Gaza in which Hamas placed civilians in harm’s way with shooters behind them. These terrorist organizations are flagrant violators of international law as they regularly endanger the lives and wellbeing of countless civilians by conducting terrorist operations from within densely populated areas. This legislation will provide additional means to curtail funding and support for these groups by sanctioning any persons or groups who are complicit or connected to attempts to shield legitimate targets by hiding them within civilian buildings or populations.

We thank Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) for introducing this bill and the leadership of Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY) for speedily moving it through the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as Reps. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Seth Moulton (D-MA).

The bill has gone to President Trump for his signature, and we hope that it will quickly become law and then implemented swiftly.

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 53 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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