The US House of Representatives on Wednesday unanimously passed the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act (HR 3542).
The Act, initiated by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), 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.
The Act notes that "Hamas leaders routinely discourage Palestinian civilians from heeding these warnings, instructing them to remain in their homes, and, in some cases, force civilians to gather on the roofs of their homes to act as human shields."
According to the Algemeiner, sanctions include denial of entry into the US, revocation of any visas, and the "blocking of property," which outlaws "all transactions" in US property. These sanctions affect all "foreign persons" found to be "responsible for, complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing the use of human shields by Hamas," as well as those facilitating such activities.
"For far too long, Hamas has taken shelter and launched offenses against Israel from civilian areas," Wilson said.
"The world must face the threat of Hamas terrorists, as they continue to perpetrate atrocities against civilians and use them as human shields. I am grateful that the US House of Representatives took a stand today against this murderous terrorist group, and am hopeful that the Senate will pass H.R. 3542 quickly.
"I believe this legislation will help ensure the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians are spared by proactively imposing strong sanctions against Hamas."
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) said, "Hamas has repeatedly put the lives of innocent Palestinians at risk by using them as human shields."
"These men, women and children are forced to serve as cover in Gaza for Hamas terrorists launching indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians. Today’s legislation rightly holds Hamas, an Iranian-backed terrorist group, accountable for these disgraceful and cowardly acts that violate international law."
The bill will be sent to the US Senate for approval.