The Media Line led over twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Look out for exciting new additions as we enter 2022.

We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.
The Media Line

Non-profit news needs public support.
Please support us with your generous contributions:
U.S. Congress Targets Israel’s Enemies With Passing Of ‘Human Shields’ Act
Palestinian girls attend class at the Suhada Khouza school in the southern Gaza Strip which was damaged during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in the summer of 2014. (Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Congress Targets Israel’s Enemies With Passing Of ‘Human Shields’ Act

Proposed legislation specifically designates Hizbullah and Hamas as ‘repeat’ offenders of a tactic that violates international law

The United States House of Representatives passed legislation targeting individuals responsible for the tactic often employed by terrorist groups Hamas and Hizbullah of using “human shields” in military confrontations with Israel.

After being approved by the Senate the legislation—titled the “Sanctioning of the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act”—heads to President Donald Trump who is expected to sign it into law.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbying group and the Christians United for Israel organization pushed for the bill which has received bipartisan support.

“This is the first time Congress has taken legislative action against this heinous practice,” AIPAC wrote in a statement. “The importance of this [bill] is underscored by the recent discovery of Hizbullah terror tunnels into Israel that originated under the cover of civilian houses in Lebanon. And just weeks ago—using the cover of civilian populations in Gaza—Hamas fired more than 500 rockets at communities across southern Israel.”

The measure calls for sanctions to be imposed on members of terrorist groups or foreign state actors that deliberately place civilians in harm’s way.

For example, Israel alleges that Hamas regularly uses supposedly neutral locations such as hospitals and UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools to store caches of rockets, forcing the Israeli military to strike these targets. By ramping up civilian casualties, Hamas hopes to turn world opinion against Israel.

“Yet the leverage of these sanctions needs to be assessed especially if the U.S. is acting alone in imposing them,” Roee Kibrik, an expert in international relations and Israeli security at the Mitvim Institute, conveyed to The Media Line.

“Even without this law the U.S. government can easily cut funding from various groups and organizations such as UNWRA. It can basically do what it wants already.”

The legislation comes as Washington’s influence on the ground is deteriorating, Kibrik explained. “Take what is happening now in Gaza; it is not the U.S. that pays Hamas; rather it is Qatar with Israel’s help. Does this mean Israel would be acting against Congress’ laws? This issue is much more complicated than it appears.”

Asaf Romirowsky, a Middle East historian and Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, told The Media Line that the “biggest debate has always been over distinguishing fighters from non-combatants as well as discerning what the legitimate targets are.”

Hamas and Hizbullah have erected charitable wings in their operational structures which they use to compensate for their human shields tactic, Romirowsky noted. “Up until now, this practice has not been targeted by any U.S. laws.”

He believes that Congress is pushing forward the legislation because of Hizbullah’s construction of subterranean terror tunnels stretching into northern Israel and due to the ongoing violent protests in Gaza.

“Many people do not understand the tactics used by these groups, and the U.S. is giving itself another tool to tackle this problem,” Romirowsky concluded.

The U.S. move comes on the backdrop of a looming congressional debate on whether to include the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in a massive annual spending bill that must be passed to enable the government to keep functioning. That legislation, which some left-leaning lawmakers oppose, would criminally penalize American citizens that participate in boycotts against Israel and companies operating therein.

Despite American efforts to bolster the security of the Jewish state, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly declined an Israeli request to slap sanctions on Lebanon after the Israel Defense Forces uncovered Hizbullah’s network of tunnels.

Israel is in the process of destroying this underground network in an operation dubbed “Northern Shield.”

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today.
Thank you!

We paved the way to be the Trusted Mid East News you can rely on!

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.