WASHINGTON – A group of 16 Republican Senators led by Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced the “Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act” on Friday.The bill is aimed “to prevent Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or any affiliate or successor thereof from accessing its international support networks,” and to oppose Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad attempting to use goods, “including medicine and dual use items, to smuggle weapons and other materials to further acts of terrorism.”The bill would impose sanctions “against foreign individuals, entities, and governments that provide support to Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian terrorist groups that just spent weeks launching more than 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians,” the lawmakers said in a statement.
“The legislation also requires the President to submit to Congress an assessment of whether critical foreign countries are doing enough to counter the fundraising, financing, and money laundering activities of Palestinian terrorist groups.”“As these terrorist groups continue to show zero regard for the loss of innocent lives and threaten our ally, Israel, I’m proud to reintroduce this bill which seeks to impose sanctions against foreign nationals and governments who are actively providing material support to these groups,” Rubio said. “We must hold accountable the individuals who are aiding the terrorist activities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”USAID Administrator, Samantha Power, testified before the House Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday, and addressed a question about the US assistance to the Palestinians.“We know we have to be faithful to the taxpayer above all and that we need to prevent these resources from falling into the wrong hands,” she said. “Right now we’re working with the Catholic Relief Services and the world food program to provide more than $50 million in immediate medical supplies.
”“We are supporting the east Jerusalem hospital network and trying to use cash and food vouchers that go directly to citizens, pivoting programs also to water and sanitation because of the real concerns about disease outbreaks,” Power continued. “And then of course there are displaced persons, given the destruction that occurred. We know we have to be faithful to the taxpayer above all and that we need to prevent these resources from falling into the wrong hands.”
“Everything in that region is vetted in accordance with the Taylor force Act, of course, in order to prevent anything being diverted to Hamas,” Power added. “In the case of the Taylor force act, it also cannot benefit the Palestinian Authority and there is the most vigilant and stringent scrutiny [..] I think people can have confidence that this has been to the intended beneficiaries and certainly we have systems in place [to scrutinize these grants.]”