Gallagher & Suozzi Introduce Bill to Sanction Hizballah for Use of Human Shields
Washington, D.C. – Today Representatives Gallagher and Suozzi (D-NY), in addition to Royce (R-CA), Roskam (R-IL), and Engel (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan SHIELDS Act (H.R. 3342) to impose sanctions on Hizballah, a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization, for its use of civilians as human shields. Despite existing sanctions, Hizballah has continued to expand its military capabilities, due in large part to extensive Iranian financial support. The State Department has continually expressed alarm at Hizballah’s capabilities and influence, describing the group in 2010 as “the most technically capable terrorist group in the world” and in 2013, noted the increasing tempo of Hizballah’s terrorist activities.
“Since its creation, Hizballah has been an Iranian proxy dedicated to destroying Israel and combating American interests in the Middle East. From its bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in 1983, to its rocket attacks against Israel, to its expanding influence in Syria today, Hizballah’s terrorist activities have served as a direct challenge to the United States and our allies. The SHIELDS Act is a bipartisan effort to diminish Hizballah’s military capabilities and malign influence in the Middle East while advancing U.S. interests,” said Rep. Gallagher.
“This bipartisan legislation will take strong action in trying to reduce Hizballah’s ability to use innocent civilians as human shields. We must confront this terrorist organization as they try to expand their sphere of influence in the Middle East and launch attacks against Israel. I’m committed to working with both Republicans and Democrats to keep putting pressure on Hizballah to stop them from killing innocent people in order to advance their extremist ideology,” said Rep. Suozzi.
Measures included in the SHIELDS Act are:
- Identifying and sanctioning Hizballah members and those acting on behalf of Hizballah who are complicit in, or responsible for ordering or directing their use of human shields.
- Identifying and sanctioning foreign persons, agencies, or instrumentalities of foreign states who have provided, attempted to provide, or facilitated provision of material support to such identified individuals.
- Invoking financial penalties, blocking real estate transactions, and leveraging powers ascribed by the International Economic Emergency Powers Act.
- Empowering the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security with authority to revoke visas from such identified individuals or declare them ineligible for visas.