House passes resolution to condemn Hamas for Israel rocket attacks

The House on Wednesday passed a resolution to condemn the extremist group Hamas for its recent rocket attacks against Israel.

The measure, passed by voice vote, specifically denounces Hamas's use of civilians as "human shields" during combat.

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"Hamas is engaging in a crime of enormous proportions, perpetrated by those who are deliberately hiding among civilians to protect themselves," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). "The world can't let terrorists embed their forces among the civilian population, using them as human shields, without speaking out."

It also expresses support for Israel to defend itself against Hamas, as well as Palestinians who do not support Hamas or violence. Lawmakers said the resolution would affirm U.S. support for Israel, especially amid a United Nations report stating that Israel committed human rights violations against the Palestinians. 

"The United States is the only one true friend that Israel has," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "We must always stands up for Israel's security and we must state plainly that Israel is not alone."

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the bill's sponsor, said the resolution would demonstrate U.S. support for Israel in light of the United Nations report.

"So if the U.N. Security Council will not act and not use its voice, that is why it is so important for the House of Representatives to pass this resolution, to not only stand up for the Palestinian people who have been made pawns in Hamas’ mission to destroy Israel, to their detriment, but for Israel, in the face of this biased anti-Israel agenda," Ros-Lehtinen said.

The measure further slams Hamas for its refusal to agree on a cease-fire with Israel. 

Passage of the resolution comes as fighting between Hamas and Israel is now in its third week. The two sides struggled to agree on a cease-fire over the weekend.