U.S. lawmakers urged to back bill calling out Hamas, Hezbollah

AIPAC and ADL are urging lawmakers to co-sponsor Senate bill targeting Hezbollah and Hamas for using human shields.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

US Capitol
US Capitol

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are urging lawmakers to co-sponsor a Senate bill targeting Hezbollah and Hamas for using human shields, JTA reported on Friday.

The bill, introduced last week by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) would sanction those who use civilians to shield themselves while carrying out attacks. It singles out Hamas and Hezbollah as egregious violators.

Three Democrats and 12 Republicans have sponsored the bill thus far, but a statement Friday by the ADK could drive up Democratic co-sponsorship.

“We strongly agree that the use of human shields by terrorist groups is illegal, harms innocent civilians, and impedes necessary efforts at self-defense by democracies such as the United States and Israel. There’s clearly a need for this legislation,” the ADL told JTA.

“It would impose concrete penalties against all terrorist groups that do this and encourage the United States to pursue a Security Council Resolution that would force the international community to do more to put a stop to this odious practice.”

B’nai B’rith International has also expressed support for the bill which calls Hezbollah and Hamas “repeated” practitioners of an action that violates international law. It notes reports that Hezbollah is concealing missiles in villages in Lebanon and that Hamas routinely launches missiles at Israel from densely populated areas.

AIPAC this week sent an action alert to its activists, asking them to urge their senators to back the bill.

“Terrorist groups—including Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS—are blatantly violating international law by placing their terrorist infrastructure among civilian populations and hiding behind innocent civilians as they carry out armed attacks,” the alert said.

In February, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act which condemns Hamas' use of civilians, including children, as human shields, sanctioning those who use them.

It also emphasizes that using civilians as human shields violates both human rights and international humanitarian law, and emphasizes IDF efforts to avoid civilian casualties.

Hamas later condemned the bill, claiming it sides with "the Israeli narrative".

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)