Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) on Tuesday announced the reintroduction of the Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act, which would prohibit US aid expenditures intended for Gaza so long as that aid continues to benefit Hamas and other terrorist groups.
“Israel is a country facing unyielding attacks from terrorist groups, like Hamas, who wish to destroy the Jewish state and its people,” Scott said in a statement. “Our bill, the Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act, requires the president to certify that any taxpayer money authorized to the territory of Gaza will not end up in the hands of Hamas terrorists, making clear that we will cut off ANY AND ALL ties, direct or indirect, to terrorist organizations that attack our allies.”
Critics of US aid to UNRWA – the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees and their descendants – argue that by operating schools and hospitals in the Gaza Strip, the agency effectively benefits Hamas by relieving it of costs it would otherwise have to pay from its own budget.
“There is no circumstance in which taxpayer dollars should prop up terrorist organizations, especially when such an organization’s goal is the destruction of Israel, an important ally to us. Hamas is just such an organization,” Hyde-Smith said.
The bill follows the introduction on Monday of Republican-sponsored legislation that would cut funding to UNRWA entirely barring radical reforms to the agency.