US House passes bipartisan bill to prevent use of human shields, now off to Trump

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The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill on Monday that would enact sanctions on those who use human shields in war, two sources familiar with the development told JNS.

The Senate unanimously passed its version in October. The bill now goes to U.S. President Donald Trump to sign it into law.

Introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), and co-sponsored by 25 representatives, the Sanctioning the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act, also known as the STOP Using Human Shields Act, officially condemns the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah’s use of human shields “as a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.”

The bill mandates that the president impose sanctions on any entity that “knowingly and materially supports, orders, controls, directs or otherwise engages in” the exercise of human shields by the terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas.

The president may waive sanctions for up to 120 days if he or she reports to Congress saying that a waiver is crucial to national-security interests.

Groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Christians United for Israel and the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) applauded the bill’s passage.

“This is the first time Congress has taken legislative action against this heinous practice,” AIPAC said in a statement.

“The importance of this legislation is underscored by the recent discovery of Hezbollah terror tunnels into Israel that originated under the cover of civilian houses in Lebanon,” they added. “And just weeks ago—using the cover of civilian populations in Gaza—Hamas fired [nearly] 500 rockets at communities across southern Israel.”

“Those who use human shields are the worst kind of cowards. The practitioners of this monstrous practice hide behind the skirts of women and the bodies of children in order to attack neighboring innocent civilians,” said CUFI founder and chairman Pastor John Hagee. “The 5 million members of CUFI welcome the House’s actions today, and we look forward to the President signing this legislation into law.”