Bipartisan Bill Sanctions Financial Backers of Hamas
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (CA-39) and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-16) introduced the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act. The bipartisan bill imposes sanctions on foreign persons, agencies and governments that assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or their affiliates. The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Congressmen Brad Sherman (CA-30), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ted Poe (TX-2), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Thomas Suozzi (NY-3).
“Following my service in the U.S. Army, I chose to volunteer alongside the Israeli Defense Forces because our countries share the common ideals of freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people. Hamas preaches destruction to Israel and death to the values we hold dear in the United States. They have murdered more than 400 Israelis and at least 25 American citizens.” Rep. Mast said. “This bipartisan bill is proof that confronting hate – and supporting our ally Israel – is not an issue of left versus right; it is always will be an issue of right versus wrong.”
“I’m proud to lead on this effort to weaken Hamas, a heinous terrorist network responsible for the death of far too many innocent civilians, both Israeli and American,” Rep. Gottheimer said. “Our bipartisan bill will ensure that anyone who provides assistance to this enemy of the United States and our vital ally Israel will face the strength and determination of our country.”
“Hamas is a deadly terrorist organization that uses civilians as human shields,” Chairman Royce said. “It is an Iranian proxy that has attacked Israel and the United States. Today’s important legislation further isolates Hamas and its backer Iran – the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. It is very simple: Anyone who funds or supports Hamas should face U.S. sanctions.”
“Palestinian terrorism represents a grave threat to Israeli security and the prospects for a two-state solution,” Ranking Member Engel said. “Congress must work to stop international support for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and foreign supporters of these organizations must understand the risks associated with perpetuating this perverse violence. I welcome the work of Congressman Mast and Congressman Gottheimer in addressing the threats posed by Palestinian terrorism to Israel and to American interests in the Middle East, and I look forward to seeing this bill move forward.”
Hamas is a foreign terrorist organization and specially designated by the United States government as a global terrorist. The organization is responsible for the death of more than 400 Israelis and at least 25 United States citizens.
The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act requires the President to submit to Congress an annual report for the next three years identifying foreign persons, agencies or instrumentalities of a foreign state who knowingly and materially assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or an affiliate or successor of one of those organizations. After identifying the organizations, the President must impose two or more sanctions, including denying a) Export-Import guarantees, b) defense support under the Arms Export Control Act, c) export of munitions to any agreement to which a person identified is a part, d) export of goods or technology controlled for national security reasons, e) loans more than $10 million, or f) seizure of property held within the United States.
The bill also requires the President to report to Congress on each government that provides support for acts of terrorism and provides material support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor organization, or the President determines to have engaged in a significant transaction to knowingly and materially provide support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any affiliate or successor organization. After identifying the governments, the President must suspend U.S. assistance to that government for one year, instruct the executive directors of each international finance institution to vote against any loan or technical assistance to that government and prohibit any munitions export to that government for one year. Additionally, the President must prohibit that government’s transactions in foreign exchanges that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and prevent that government’s transfers of credits or payments between financial institutions subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
“It’s time we get serious about Palestinian terrorism,” Rep. Poe said. “Groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have spent decades murdering Israelis, targeting innocent civilians with suicide bombings, rocket attacks, stabbings, and any other method by which they could spill blood. Time and again, Americans have also been killed at the hands of these murderous terrorists. But we have done little to urge the Qataris to stop their support for these terrorists. Over the years, our allies in Doha have provided official support, funding, and safe haven to Hamas with impunity. The number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world, Iran, has also spared no effort to arm Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad so that they could maximize their killing sprees. I am proud to support the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act that will make countries like Qatar, Iran, and others pay a price for their support for terrorism. In the fight against terrorist there is no middle ground. If you support terrorism, justice will eventually be served.”