Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Bolster Sanctions Against Hamas

WASHINGTON – Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced new bipartisan legislation to increase sanctions on foreign governments who assist Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In contrast to many partisan bills introduced that never make it out of committee, this bill appears likely to advance given its influential bipartisan backers. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Democratic Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and chairperson of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) all support the legislation.

The bill requires the President to submit a report on each government that provides material support to the Palestinian terror organizations. At this point, the Federal government must end any foreign assistance to such country for a year along with preventing any munitions export. Iran and longtime US ally Qatar provides Hamas with significant financial assistance. After the outbreak of the 2011 Syrian civil war, Hamas’ key sponsor — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — cut its support for the Palestinian terror organization after a break due to a dispute over the Assad regime’s killing of Syrian civilians.

“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,” Gottheimer said. Since entering Congress in January, both Gottheimer and Mast have been extremely active promoting pro-Israel legislation. A US Army vet who lost his legs from an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan, Mast volunteered with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) in January 2015 packing medical kits at a military base near Tel Aviv.

The  “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act” does not mention Fatah or the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by President Mahmoud Abbas unlike the Taylor Force Act pushed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which would cut off all US assistance to the PA if they don’t quit paying terrorists and their families, that has stalled in committee. Hamas has murdered over 400 Israelis and at least 25 Americans since its establishment during the First Intifada. “This bipartisan bill is proof that confronting hate – and supporting our ally Israel – is not an issue of left versus right; it always will be an issue of right versus wrong” Mast explained.

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