WASHINGTON (JTA) — Congress passed a resolution denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by terrorist groups, calling it a violation of international humanitarian law.
The resolution was passed by both houses of Congress without objection on Wednesday.
“The United States Congress stood resolved in condemnation of the despicable actions of the terrorist group, Hamas, and its use of children, women and men as human shields. While Israel went to extraordinary lengths this summer in Gaza to protect innocent civilian lives, Hamas placed the Palestinian people directly in harm’s way by using them as human shields and placing its rockets near densely populated areas and near schools, hospitals and mosques,” according to a joint statement from Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (R-Fla.)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who cosponsored the resolution on the Senate side, said in a statement: “The Senate has sent a united signal that we denounce Hamas’ barbaric tactics and unequivocally support Israel’s right to self-defense.”
The resolution calls on the international community to condemn Hamas’ use of human shields and places responsibility for the rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel on Hamas and other terrorist organizations. It also condemns the United Nations Human Rights Council’s biased resolution establishing a commission of inquiry into Israel’s Gaza operation.
In a related move, a bipartisan group of congressmen sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury urging it to work to designate and sanction individuals and entities that provide financial, political or material support for Hamas. The letter, which pointed specifically to Turkey and Qatar, was signed by 24 members from two subcommittees: Middle East and North Africa; and Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade.
“It’s no secret that Turkey and Qatar provide refuge to many Hamas operatives, and that both of these supposed American allies have become major terror financial hubs. While the Treasury Department has taken significant action against Hamas and its supporters, more can be done to halt support for this terrorist group,” Ros-Lehtenin said.