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house Bill H.R. 3542

Should Hamas be Sanctioned for Using Civilians as Human Shields?

Argument in favor

Hamas is violating human rights and international law by launching rockets to attack Israel from locations near schools, hospitals, and mosques — effectively using civilians as human shields from retaliation. Those involved should face sanctions, and this bipartisan bill ensures that happens.

Walker's Opinion
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02/13/2018
This would help provide a precedent towards people who use civilian lives as shields in conflicts around the globe. A President precedent, if you will.
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Austin's Opinion
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02/13/2018
Yes, Israel is our ally and need to be protected. I say we go into Palestine with troops and claim it for Israel. Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.
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Walter's Opinion
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02/13/2018
There are many good reasons to sanction Hamas. This is definitely one.
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Argument opposed

While it’s wrong for Hamas to use civilians as human shields, the U.S. isn’t in a position to judge their behavior and shouldn’t take steps to counteract the use of human shields through sanctions. This bill will only inflame the tension in the Middle East.

RadicalModerate's Opinion
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02/13/2018
Congress should be sanctioned for using dreamers as human shields.
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NoHedges's Opinion
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02/12/2018
I would prefer if Congress focused on the ONGOING INTERNAL assault on this nation's citizens.
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Chickie's Opinion
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02/13/2018
This bill is just another way for #45 and his administration to puff up their chest and pet ego’s by speaking of injustice. Y’all want to address injustice? First, impose the sanctions on Russia, as approved by the House and Senate. First, address the blatant prejudices of #45 and this administration against those of color, of different sexual orientation, of different beliefs. First, allow all women to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies. First, address #45 and this administrations grotesque praise of the predators/abusers, while ignoring those victimized and left to feel unsafe and in pain. First, address those who engage cyber bullying to make themselves feel more than the cowards that they are. Then, perhaps, we can talk about the injustices of others.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house Passed February 14th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 415 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJuly 28th, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 3542?

This bill — the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act — would direct the president to impose property and travel sanctions on members or affiliates of Hamas who are responsible for or complicit in Hamas’ use of human shields. Foreign persons and entities that provide or attempt to provide material support to sanctioned individuals would also be sanctioned. Additionally, the bill would state that it’s U.S. policy to condemn the use of human shields by Hamas as an act of terrorism and violation of human rights, and act against those engaging in or supporting the use of human shields.

The president would be able to waive a sanction for 120 days with prior congressional certification that the waiver is vital to U.S. national security interests. The president would also be urged to direct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations to U.S. influence at the U.N. Security Council to secure support for a resolution imposing multilateral sanctions against Hamas’s use of human shields.

Impact

Individuals and entities affiliated with Hamas that are involved with the use of human shields; the United Nations Security Council and the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.; and the president.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3542

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced this bill to sanction Hamas for violating human rights standards by using civilians as human shields:

“For too long, Hamas has taken shelter and launched offensives against Israel from civilian areas, including schools, hospitals, and mosques. Their actions have knowingly and carelessly put innocent lives at risk — in clear violation of international law. We cannot stand by while Hamas continues to perpetrate atrocities against civilians by using them as human shields. This legislation imposes direct sanctions against any terrorist who is responsible for the use of human shields by Hamas.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) added:

“The use of human shields is a clear human rights violation. THis bill ensures that members of Hamas who put civilians in harm’s way are sanctioned for their actions. We have a moral obligation to hold Hamas accountable and I’m proud to support this bipartisan effort.”

This legislation passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee on a voice vote and has the support of eight bipartisan cosponsors, including five Democrats and three Republicans.


Of Note: The House unanimously passed similar legislation sanctioning those associated with Hezbollah's use of human shields in October 2017. That bill is yet to be considered by the Senate.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces / Creative Commons)

AKA

Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act

Official Title

To impose sanctions against Hamas for violating universally applicable international laws of armed conflict by intentionally using civilians and civilian property to shield military objectives from lawful attack, and for other purposes.

    This would help provide a precedent towards people who use civilian lives as shields in conflicts around the globe. A President precedent, if you will.
    Like (17)
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    Congress should be sanctioned for using dreamers as human shields.
    Like (105)
    Follow
    Share
    I would prefer if Congress focused on the ONGOING INTERNAL assault on this nation's citizens.
    Like (80)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill is just another way for #45 and his administration to puff up their chest and pet ego’s by speaking of injustice. Y’all want to address injustice? First, impose the sanctions on Russia, as approved by the House and Senate. First, address the blatant prejudices of #45 and this administration against those of color, of different sexual orientation, of different beliefs. First, allow all women to decide for themselves what to do with their own bodies. First, address #45 and this administrations grotesque praise of the predators/abusers, while ignoring those victimized and left to feel unsafe and in pain. First, address those who engage cyber bullying to make themselves feel more than the cowards that they are. Then, perhaps, we can talk about the injustices of others.
    Like (30)
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    This is what Congress is addressing? What happend to infrastructure & immigration? Seems Congress is afraid to vote on any meaningful issue for fear of alienating their donors or their base. Perhaps first they should address Trumps refusal to inact sanctions Congres voted almost unanimously for against Russia!
    Like (26)
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    Yes, Israel is our ally and need to be protected. I say we go into Palestine with troops and claim it for Israel. Jerusalem belongs to the Jews.
    Like (16)
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    This is hypocrisy until we recognize and stop funding the violent, genocidal colonialism and apartheid state of Israel waged against Palestinians and African refugees.
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    There are many good reasons to sanction Hamas. This is definitely one.
    Like (11)
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    Let’s deal with the US injustices first against our citizens and immigrants that are not lily white! The current administration and GOP seem hellbent on their own ethnic cleansing by restricting immigration that their own ancestors and family members would have been denied entry here. And how many of their ancestors came here “legally” based on today’s laws? What would have happened if the Native Americans, who were here long before any European explorer set foot on this soil, deported the explorers back to Europe, as they were here first?
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    There is nothing more important to this country at the moment than our president. What I want to know is what are you planning on doing to protect this country and it’s people from literally everything he does. I could give you a huge list but it’s been done. You’re all grown men. You know what’s happening. So you either agree with it or your scared. So I say this to you all. Man up or we find someone else who will.
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    Hamas isn't the main terror group accused of this. Amend this to any terror group and then I find it acceptable.
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    Yeah, and while you’re at it, sanction Al Qaeda, ISIS, and all the other terrorist organizations, since sanctioning does anything to terrorists.
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    For the “Nays,” that equate America’s actions—or Israel’s for that matter—with Hamas or any other terrorist group, you somehow equate the deliberate targeting of civilians with unintentional, collateral harm. We go to great lengths to avoid harming civilians, and when civilians are killed, our Generals mourn. The PA, PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS etc., on the other hand, not only celebrate the killing of civilian targets, worse, they often target daycares, and hospitals. So please spare me that we or Israel are just as bad argument. That you fail to see the difference befuddles me.
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    Isn’t this a slap their hands declaration? President won’t enforce sanctions on Russia, so why add more sanctions like Hamas? In addition to which we have a not so subtle war on women in this country and where is the bill introduced to sanction men who abuse? Most of us are at war with the NRA and gun lobby over thousands of gun deaths by white male Americans. Were is the outrage over this? Stop with the needless stuff and get to work on our own country.
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    Human shields have been used through out history normally by the losers, so who are sanctions really going to have an impact on. The losers or the people who are used as shields. This really sounds like a UN matter. Why isn’t Congress addressing in country issues?
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    Why is this a question? It should be a policy statement!
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    Definitely
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    Of course YEA. 1st Sanction 2nd. Bomb
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    Sanction Israel while you're at it. That conflict is two sided and the Israeli government has proven their brutality as well.
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    If we’re going to sanction Hamas then we should also sanction Israel for running an apartheid state in the first place. The systematic oppression of the Palestinians is why this the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is continuing to this day.
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