12 Republican and 3 Democrat senators are currently sponsoring a bill would impose concrete penalties against Hamas, Hezbollah and any group that exploits the use of human shields.
A bill introduced in the United States Senate last week would “impose concrete penalties” on terrorist groups that set up “their terrorist infrastructure among civilian populations,” singling out Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon as the main perpetrators of the use of human shields.
Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, and 15 other lawmakers have sponsored the bill.
The Anti-Defamation League and AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, are lobbying Democrats and Republicans alike to sponsor what they are claiming is bipartisan legislation.
“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,” the Anti-Defamation League told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (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,” the statement said.
AIPAC sent out a call-to-action message to its supporters, encouraging them to contact their Senators and urge them to sponsor 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 read.
Israel’s right to defend itself was once a bipartisan issue for US lawmakers.
However, US Democrats are increasingly at odds with the current Israeli government’s political agenda when it comes to the use of live fire during Gaza border clashes, Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, and the newly passed Jewish nation-state law.
As such, Israel’s supporters in US Congress are pushing for bipartisan sponsorship of legislation in hopes of showing the world that “repeated” armed attacks conducted under cover of civilian infrastructure or civilians themselves are universally unacceptable.
Gaza-based Hamas and Lebanon-based Hezbollah are considered terrorist organizations in Israel and the United States, and the European Union, though in the case of Hezbollah only its militant wing has been outlawed by the EU.
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