Rubio, Rosen push House-passed Hamas sanctions bill in the Senate

The bill had struggled to gain bipartisan support in the Senate in recent years, but passed the House last year by a wide bipartisan margin

Orthodox Union/Twitter

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks at Orthodox Union event on Capitol Hill, Jan. 11, 2024

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) on Tuesday are set to reintroduce the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad International Terrorism Support Prevention Act in the Senate, seeking to expand the U.S.’ sanctions regime on Palestinian terrorist groups.

The bill passed the House by a strong bipartisan margin, 363-46, in November. Rubio had introduced a version of the bill last year but, at the time, it lacked Democratic co-sponsors in the Senate. Rosen’s support makes this latest version of the bill a bipartisan effort.

The legislation would implement new sanctions on individuals, entities and governments providing support for Palestinian terrorist groups. Congress passed into law a similar sanctions regime targeting Hezbollah in 2015. The Hamas-targeted bill has been introduced in the Senate multiple times, but lacked Democratic support in recent years. The legislation has floundered for years, despite some forward momentum.

Unlike the version of the bill Rubio introduced with Republican support in 2023, the new legislation contains language specifically exempting humanitarian aid to Gaza and the West Bank from the sanctions, as long as it complies with other U.S. law.

Some opponents of the bill in the House had raised concerns that it contained insufficient carve outs for humanitarian aid.

“The barbaric terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7th by Hamas savages reaffirms the importance of sanctioning the group’s enablers and the governments who provide material support to these terrorists,” Rubio said in a statement to Jewish Insider. “As a nation, which stands unequivocally in support of Israel, we must ensure we’re focused on eliminating any source of international material support to Hamas or radical groups alike.”

It remains unclear if the Senate will actually move forward with the bill, but the renewed bipartisan support could give it additional momentum.

“On October 7, Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists brutally murdered, raped, and kidnapped innocent civilians. Their terror attacks cannot go unanswered,” Rosen said in a statement. 

“The U.S. must break up the foreign networks that finance these terrorist groups and ensure such an attack never happens again. Our bipartisan bill would hold accountable anyone who provides financial or material support to these terrorist organizations that seek to inflict harm on Israelis and Americans.”

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