(December 11, 2018 / JNS) The House of Representatives is expected to vote and pass a bipartisan bill this week that would enact sanctions on those who use human shields in war, two sources familiar with the development told JNS.
The Senate unanimously passed its version in October.
Introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), and co-sponsored by 25 representatives, the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act, also known as the STOP Using Human Shields Act, would officially condemn the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah’s use of human shields “as a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.”
The bill mandates that the president impose sanctions on any entity that “knowingly and materially supports, orders, controls, directs or otherwise engages in” the exercise of human shields by the terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas.
The president may waive sanctions for up to 120 days if he or she reports to Congress saying that a waiver is crucial to national-security interests.
Groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Christians United for Israel and the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) are backing the bill.
“Our team has worked very hard to ensure this legislation moves forward. It is our top priority for the remainder of the year,” said CUFI founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee. “The appalling practice of hiding behind the skirts of women and the bodies of children in order to attack neighboring innocent civilians must be condemned, undermined and thwarted at every turn. I look forward to the House swiftly passing this bill and the president signing it into law.”
In initially thanking senators for their support of the bill, AIPAC wrote that “Hamas and Hezbollah are blatantly violating international law by placing their terrorist infrastructure among civilian populations. In any future conflict in Gaza or Lebanon, the lives of innocent civilians will be endangered because of the reckless and illegal behavior of these terrorist organizations.”
EMET agreed, saying “the barbaric terrorist organization Hamas sees all human life as completely disposable. Hamas regularly uses innocent civilians, including women and children, as ‘human shields’ as a PR tactic against the State of Israel. This abominable tactic must be put to an end.”