U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s, R-Fla., bill sanctioning Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and their supporters is gaining momentum on Capitol Hill.
Back in March, Mast paired up with the two leaders of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee–chairman U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, and top Republican U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Tex.–and U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-NJ, to introduce the “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act” which “imposes sanctions on foreign persons, agencies and governments that assist Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or their affiliates.”
Mast’s office offered some insights as to why the sophomore congressman had brought out the proposal.
“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,” Mast’s office noted.
Mast’s bill got a boost on Wednesday when it cleared the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Hamas is responsible for the deaths of numerous Americans and Israelis. They preach the destruction of Israel and death to everything we hold dear in the United States,” Mast said on Wednesday. “These sanctions send a strong message: the United States will not tolerate anybody who supports these radical Islamic terrorists.”
The bill still has to face the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. Forty members have lined up as cosponsors including U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. There is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.