Ros-Lehtinen Moves Bipartisan Measure Denouncing the Use of Human Shields by Hamas Through Middle East North Africa Subcommittee; Committee Also Approves Measure Condemning Murder of Israeli Teens, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, by Hamas
Ros-Lehtinen Moves Bipartisan Measure Denouncing the Use of Human Shields by Hamas Through Middle East North Africa Subcommittee;
Committee Also Approves Measure Condemning Murder of Israeli Teens, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel, by Hamas & the Murder of Palestinian Teen, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, by Israeli Extremists
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement at a subcommittee markup in which the Subcommittee unanimously voted in favor 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, and H. Res. 665 – Condemning the murder of Israeli and Palestinian children in Israel and the ongoing and escalating violence in that country. Statement delivered by Ros-Lehtinen at the markup:
“Today we have before us two timely and important resolutions. The first is H.Con.Res. 107 - which I introduced alongside with our Ranking Member, Congressman Ted Deutch of Florida - that denounces the use of human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations. The second is H.Res. 665 - authored by David McKinley of West Virginia, and our Middle East and North Africa subcommittee colleague from California, Mr. Juan Vargas; their resolution condemns last month’s murder of the three Israeli teens - Eyal, Gilad and Naftali - by members of Hamas, and the murder of Palestinian teen Muhammad Abu Khdeir by Israeli extremists, and the escalation of violence.
It should be noted that while the Israeli authorities moved swiftly to arrest three suspects in Muhammad’s murder, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali’s murderers are still roaming free, yet to be brought to justice. But these measures are significant, and their timing is not an accident.
In light of the recent events that have transpired in Israel and Gaza over the past month and a half, it is extremely vital that the United States Congress serves as the counterweight to those who seek to delegitimize Israel by pushing a false moral equivalency measure. Make no mistake: there is no equivalency whatsoever between Israel and Hamas – a United States designated terrorist organization.
We need look no further than the mockery that is the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to see the dangers of these efforts to delegitimize Israel; just two days ago that Council passed a resolution to form a commission of inquiry into what it calls war crimes and human rights violations by Israel in Gaza; it should come as no surprise to any of us of the one-sidedness of the UNHRC, and this is the same body that gave us the deeply flawed, unabashedly biased anti-Israel Goldstone report in 2009.
Yet remarkably, there was no mention of Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket attacks on innocent Israeli civilian populations. But surely firing rockets into Israel from, and placing missile batteries in densely populated areas and near schools, near hospitals, near mosques would merit a mention?
Or perhaps using men, women and children as human shields to protect militants and their rockets would draw the proper amount of outrage? Nope – not a word; but this has been the standard operating procedure of the UNHRC; it has been anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, pro terror for far too long.
There must be some member nations on that body that would have had the moral outrage that we in Congress feel, and that they would have voted against such a resolution. Alas, the United States was the lone voice of reason – the only nation willing to say that we do not support this, that this is completely insane.
Where were our European allies – those European countries that always tell us how much more enlightened they are than us? Deafeningly silent! They couldn’t even stand by the courage of their convictions and vote either for or against the measure; no, they all abstained from voting; perhaps thinking they took the moral high ground. But theirs is the worst crime of all - their refusal to stand up for what’s right.
So here we are again, another UNHRC one-sided inquiry that will do nothing but embolden Hamas, because Hamas sees this and it thinks that the world supports what it is doing.
I commend the U.S. Representative to the UNHRC for standing up against the resolution this week. Ambassador Harper rightly said that this vote will undermine achieving all of our objectives to end the hostilities and bring peace to the troubled region and acknowledged that once again the Council fails to exhibit any semblance of balance.
If the Council truly cared about human rights, it would condemn Hamas’ use of human shields and its indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel; it would take a look at Hamas’ call for citizens to ignore Israeli warnings to evacuate, or Hamas’ insistence that Palestinians stand on their roofs to prevent an attack; putting the citizens directly in harm’s way.
And the Council would call upon Hamas to accept a cease-fire – which I believe it has now refused to accept at least 3 or 4 of those cease-fires, while Israel has accepted each one of them; it would launch an inquiry into Hamas and its supporters, like supposed U.S. ally Qatar; not only is Qatar a major benefactor of Hamas, but it has been working actively to undermine Egyptian and other nations’ cease-fire efforts, further emboldening Hamas.
Qatar – the same country that we entrusted to watch over the Taliban 5 – that has been supporting terrorists and radicals all across the globe, and offers them sanctuary. Qatar, the same country that we just signed an $11 billion arms deal with, is the very same country that serves as Hamas’ mouthpiece through al-Jazeera, airing Hamas propaganda that then gets broadcast to the world. Perhaps that is something the UNHRC could look into – but it won’t because it doesn’t fit nicely into its agenda.
And that is why passing these two measures will send a strong message that we will not allow Israel’s enemies to undermine the security of our democratic ally, or its legitimacy, but that we will continue to support Israel and do whatever is necessary to help it eliminate the terrorist threat – be it Hamas, or Hezbollah or any other group. I urge my colleagues to support these measures before us today.”