As part of a conscious strategy to challenge Israel’s sovereignty, Hamas staged “peaceful protests” this past weekend to mask attempts to infiltrate Israel. Hiding behind innocent children and civilians, the terror group fired at Israel and attempted to breach the Gaza-Israel border. Hamas continues to make clear its primary goal is not a better life for the people of Gaza, but the destruction of Israel. The United States should continue to support Israel and press Hamas to disarm and end the use of human shields.
Hamas used the protests as a massive human shield for its terrorist efforts.
During the March 30 demonstrations, Hamas protestors fired at Israeli personnel on the border, and hurled stones and firebombs at Israeli positions. Israeli forces prevented multiple attempts to infiltrate Israel.
At least 10 of those killed during violence at the border were known members of terrorist groups.
While some in Gaza may seek peaceful change, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh made clear the demonstrations were part of a broader effort to threaten Israel, saying, “Last Friday we stopped at the border… Next time we don’t know where the limit will be.”
These demonstrations reportedly cost Hamas more than $15 million, including payments to Gaza citizens to attend. Instead of meeting the basic needs of its citizens, Hamas has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on terrorism, rockets and attack tunnels.
At a March 30 rally, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said that the hungry people of Gaza should “eat the livers of those besieging” them, referring to Israel.
Israel and America are working to improve Gaza’s humanitarian situation.
Despite ongoing violence and misappropriation of humanitarian aid, Israel continues to take concrete steps to improve Palestinian lives in Gaza, including projects to improve water, sanitation, electricity, communications and more.
Nearly every day, hundreds of trucks enter Gaza from Israel carrying thousands of tons of food, medicine, construction materials and other commercial goods. Hundreds of Gaza residents also routinely cross into Israel each day to receive medical attention.
The United States continues to provide significant funding for humanitarian aid projects in Gaza. On March 13, the Trump administration hosted a conference to explore solutions to the humanitarian and economic conditions in the Gaza Strip. The event was attended by representatives from 20 countries, including Israel and multiple Arab nations.
The United States should continue to support Israel and pressure Hamas.
The United States should continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself and protect its borders. “We believe that Israel has the right to defend itself,” State Department Spokesman Heather Nauert said on March 29.
Further, the United States should continue to increase sanctions on Hamas, and press the U.S.- and EU-recognized terrorist group to disarm, accept Israel’s right to exist, and end the use of human shields.
In anticipation of Hamas’ continued unethical use of noncombatants, the House of Representatives unanimously (415-0) passed the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act (H.R. 3542) on Feb. 14.
Authored by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), the legislation condemns the use of human shields by Hamas and mandates sanctions against those members of the terrorist group that engage in the practice. The legislation now awaits action in the Senate.