US House reintroduces bill to sanction global backers of Hamas, Islamic Jihad

Bipartisan American legislation directing the US president to sanction international individuals and agencies tied to the Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups was re-introduced in the House on Thursday.

Co-sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer and Florida Republican Brian Mast, the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act was originally introduced in 2019 and was passed by the House unanimously. A version of the legislation was then introduced in the Senate by Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Florida Republican Marco Rubio, but it was not approved by the end of the Congressional session.

Backed by AIPAC, the legislation instructs the White House to submit an annual report “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.”

Subsequently, the bill requires the president to impose at least two types of financial sanctions against the identified affiliates. However, the White House is given the opportunity to waive the obligation on a case-to-case basis.

In a press release announcing the bill’s introduction, Gottheimer said “Hamas is well known for firing rockets and digging terror tunnels into Israel and using Gazans, including women and children, as human shields. It is critical that the United States and our allies continue to isolate terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad by cutting them off at the source.”

Having claimed responsibility for terror attacks that killed American and Israeli civilians, Hamas and PIJ are deemed terror groups by the State Department. Sanctions already exist against several of their members, but the new legislation specifically targets international supporters of the two groups.

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