House of Representatives Passes Resolution Denouncing the Use of Human Shields by Hamas, Stands in Solidarity with Israel

Jul 30, 2014

House of Representatives Passes Resolution Denouncing the Use of Human Shields by Hamas, Stands in Solidarity with Israel

“Hamas stores its rockets and weapons underneath the homes of Palestinians and in now at least three schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency and it has been using the Palestinian men, women and children as human shields, in violation of international humanitarian law, by placing its missile batteries in densely populated areas and near schools, hospitals and mosques.”

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding the passage of H. Con. Res. 107, denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in violation of international humanitarian law. The measure was passed by unanimous consent by the House of Representatives. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel, for their continued efforts in support of human rights and Israel’s right to defend herself.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution condemning Hamas’s use of human shields in violation of international humanitarian law is an extremely important and timely measure given the current situation in Israel and Gaza.

 I want to first thank my colleague from South Florida, Ted Deutch, for joining me introducing this legislation. It was at an official fact finding trip that Ted and I took to the Middle East earlier this month where Ted and I realized how important this resolution is. While we were there, Hamas had already begun to increase the frequency of its indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel.

 Prime Minister Netanyahu was compelled to respond but made it clear from the very beginning that the objective was to restore peace and security for the people of Israel, and that quiet would be met with quiet.

But Hamas would not relent and only increased its attacks. While Hamas was firing rockets at innocent Israeli civilians, Israel was taking every step imaginable to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas’ response was to intentionally place the Palestinians in harm’s way. It stores its rockets and weapons underneath the homes of Palestinians and even in at least three schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency, and it uses Palestinian men, women and children as human shields in violation of international humanitarian law by placing its missile batteries in densely populated areas and near schools, near hospitals, near mosques.

Mr. Speaker, the contrast between Israel, a legitimate sovereign state, and Hamas, a terrorist organization, could not be any clearer. Israel values and goes to great lengths to protect human life, while Hamas has no respect for human life and goes to great lengths to sacrifice anyone, including the Palestinian people, in the name of its war against Israel. Israel has accepted repeated cease-fire offers, while Hamas has rejected them. And while Israel seeks to combat terrorism, Hamas is an internationally recognized terror organization that is being supported by countries like Qatar in its war against our true democratic ally, Israel. Yet it is Israel that wrongfully faces international condemnation for exercising its right to protect its citizens and defend herself and gets singled out when the world should be condemning Hamas.

Last week, Mr. Speaker, the UN Human Rights Council – an institution that has been leading the anti-Israel charge for years now, and has since lost any legitimacy that it might have had – passed a resolution to investigate what it calls ‘war crimes’ and ‘human rights’ violations by Israel, not by Hamas. There wasn’t even a word about Hamas’ attacks against innocent Israeli civilians nor about Hamas’s use of Palestinians as human shields. And of the 47-members on this council, you would think that there would be many voices of reason, some voices of reason, to speak out against this obvious anti-Israel bias; But the United States was the lone voice of dissent. Our so-called European allies – they lacked the courage of their convictions and couldn’t even muster the resolve to vote for or against the resolution; instead they abstained.

This is a disgrace, and it is a shame. So if the UN Security Council will not act and not use its voice, that is why it is so important for the House of Representatives to pass this resolution, to not only stand up for the Palestinian people who have been made pawns in Hamas’ mission to destroy Israel, to their detriment, but for Israel, in the face of this biased anti-Israel agenda;

We must be the counter balance, Mr. Speaker; we must send the message to the world that we will continue to stand alongside Israel and that we will condemn Hamas and its use of human shields.

I urge my colleagues to support this resolution to stand up for our ally Israel, and to stand up for human rights and American ideals and principles.

And again I thank the Chairman Mr. Royce and the Ranking Member Mr. Engel as well as my South Florida colleague, Mr. Deutch, for their help.

I yield back.”