Mast, Gottheimer, Engel, McCaul Introduce Bill to Sanction Financial Supporters of Hamas

Rep. Brian Mast

March 21, 2019

 

U.S. Congressmen Brian Mast (FL-18), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (NY-16) and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (TX-10) today introduced the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act. The bipartisan bill imposes sanctions on foreign persons, agencies and governments that assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or their affiliates.

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are foreign terrorist organizations and specially designated by the United States government as global terrorists. Hamas is responsible for the death of more than 400 Israelis and at least 25 United States citizens. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has claimed credit for multiple terrorist attacks in Israel, including an attack that killed a New Jersey student.

“Following my service in the Army, I chose to volunteer alongside the Israeli Defense Forces because our countries share the common ideals of freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people. Hamas preaches destruction to Israel and death to the values we hold dear in the United States,” Rep. Mast said. “The United States must not tolerate anybody who provides support to these radical Islamic terrorists.”

"The terrorist group Hamas is well known for firing rockets and digging terror tunnels into Israel and using Gazans, including women and children, as human shields,” Rep. Gottheimer said. “It is critical that the United States and our allies continue to isolate Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad by cutting them off at the source. With the support of Chairman Engel and Ranking Member McCaul, our bipartisan bill will strengthen sanctions to weaken these terrorist groups that threaten our ally Israel, undermine peace, and further destabilize the Middle East."

“I am a firm believer in a two state solution, but a Palestinian state will never be born from terror. The rockets raining down on Tel Aviv in recent days are only the latest reminder that Hamas has no interest in peace,” Chairman Engel said. “I applaud Mr. Mast and Mr. Gottheimer for their continued leadership, and I welcome the introduction of this legislation at this critical moment. It sends an important message that terrorism only denigrates the Palestinian cause and sets back the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

“As we saw just last week, Hamas continues to threaten Israel with rockets, incendiary balloons, and any other weapon it can get its hands on. Hamas relies on a vast network of smuggling and international support, including from Iran, to maintain its arsenal,” Ranking Member McCaul said.“These sanctions are a long overdue measure to make clear that as long as Hamas continues this campaign of violence, its members and anyone who seeks to fund or support this terrorist organization will be held accountable.”

BACKGROUND

The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act requires the President to submit to Congress an annual report for the next three years 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. After identifying the organizations, the President must impose two or more sanctions, including denying a) Export-Import guarantees, b) defense support under the Arms Export Control Act, c) export of munitions to any agreement to which a person identified is a part, d) export of goods or technology controlled for national security reasons, e) loans more than $10 million, or f) seizure of property held within the United States.

The bill also requires the President to report to Congress on each government that provides support for acts of terrorism and provides material support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor organization, or the President determines to have engaged in a significant transaction to knowingly and materially provide support to Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or any affiliate or successor organization. After identifying the governments, the President must suspend U.S. assistance to that government for one year, instruct the executive directors of each international finance institution to vote against any loan or technical assistance to that government and prohibit any munitions export to that government for one year. Additionally, the President must prohibit that government’s transactions in foreign exchanges that are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and prevent that government’s transfers of credits or payments between financial institutions subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.