by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
House lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation to sanction the Iran-backed terror group Hamas for its use of human shields, but the critical legislation is destined to remain on ice until the Republican-controlled chamber can settle on a new speaker.
The bipartisan initiative represents the first congressional bid to hold the militant group accountable for its weekend slaughter of Israeli citizens, and underscores the paralysis caused by last week’s ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Led by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) and Brad Sherman (D., Calif.), the bill would expand the White House’s power to sanction Hamas’s top leaders, as well as those affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, another Iranian-backed terror group operating in Lebanon, according to a copy of the measure obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
While the bipartisan bill is certain to attract widespread support as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle rally around Israel, it cannot be taken up by the House until a new speaker is selected. The situation will delay any action on one of the first pieces of legislation to crack down on Middle East terror groups following Hamas’s weekend attack on Israel that caught the Jewish state off guard and left more than a thousand dead and many more missing. It targets a key pillar of Hamas’s war fighting strategy, which focuses on embedding militants in heavily populated civilian areas and using them as cannon fodder. Hamas expanded this tactic during its siege on Israel, when it intentionally targeted and took hostage children, women, and elderly Israelis.
“The horrific Hamas attacks on Israel demonstrate that groups like Hamas, Hizballah, and the Palestine Islamic Jihad have always been dedicated to destroying Israel and combating American interests in the Middle East,” Gallagher, a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Free Beacon.