House backs bill targeting groups that use human shields

US House of Representatives approves bill that would target for sanctions Hezbollah and Hamas for using civilians as human shields.

Elad Benari,

US Capitol
US Capitol

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would target for sanctions Hezbollah and Hamas for using civilians as human shields, guaranteeing that it will become law, JTA reports.

The bill describes the Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist organizations as “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.

The US Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan bill in October.

The bill was approved on Thursday, was authored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and was co-sponsored by 50 other senators. It was first introduced this past summer.

“This critical and timely legislation mandates new sanctions against Hamas, Hezbollah and foreign state agencies that use civilians as human shields or provide support to those doing so,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement Tuesday after the House passed the bill, which now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Last 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".