Eight senators introduced a bipartisan bill in July to end the use of civilians as human shields.
Introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the STOP Using Human Shields Act, if enacted, would impose sanctions on U.S.-designated terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS and Al Qaeda, all of whom are guilty of the tactic.
The bill is pending before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“America, Israel and our other allies are engaged in a fight against radical Islamic terrorist organizations, from Hamas and Hezbollah to Al Qaeda and ISIS, who cynically use human shields against us,” Cruz said in a press release with by the offices of the bill’s sponsors.
“Unfortunately, organizations like the United Nations incentivize this barbaric tactic by blaming civilized countries, who do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, for whatever civilian casualties that do occur,” he added. “The United States should hold accountable the monsters who commit these war crimes. This bill will impose consequences on those who enable and facilitate the use of human shields.”
The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) said “the barbaric terrorist organization Hamas sees all human life as completely disposable. Hamas regularly uses innocent civilians, including women and children, as ‘human shields’ as a PR tactic against the State of Israel. This abominable tactic must be put to an end.”
Blumenthal explained that “the bipartisan STOP Using Human Shields Act enables the United States to lead international counter-terrorism efforts to deter civilians being placed in harm’s way by Hamas to conduct and conceal it campaign of war crimes against Israel. I have long supported strong sanctions to specifically target foreign terrorist organizations, from Hezbollah to Hamas, who are responsible for maiming and murdering Americans and our allies and partners.”
Scott added, “As groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah continue to put innocent lives in grave danger by using human shields, it is essential that action is taken to punish these organizations. We know these and many other terrorists have little regard for life, and they need to be sent a strong message that the use of human shields will not be tolerated.”
Groups including Christians United for Israel and the Endowment for Middle East Truth support the bill.
“It’s time that terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, AlQaeda [sic] and ISIS, be held to account for using innocent civilians, including children, as human shields,” Christians United for Israel stated in an email to supporters.