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Lankford, Rosen Urge UN to Designate Hamas a Terrorist Organization and Impose Sanctions

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), co-chairs and co-founders of the Abraham Accords Caucus and Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, today led a letter to the United Nations (UN) urging them to designate Iranian-backed Hamas as a terrorist organization following the brutal terrorist attacks on Israel since October 7 with the intent to eradicate Israel and the Jews in Israel.

“Recent events have demonstrated that Hamas’ actions, tactics, and stated goals are in many ways indistinguishable from Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations the United Nations has sanctioned. Therefore, we write to urge you to bring a resolution to the UN Security Council recognizing and imposing sanctions on Hamas as a terrorist organization,” said the Senators.

“Since October 1997, the US Department of Treasury has designated Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Additionally, these groups have been listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) since October 2001. Numerous other countries and international entities rightfully have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization, including Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Israel, the Organization of American States, Paraguay, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Switzerland is also actively exploring legal avenues to designate Hamas as a terrorist entity,” they concluded.

Joining Lankford and Rosen in sending the letter were Senators Katie Britt (R-AL), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Joni Ernst (R-IA), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), Ted Budd (R-NC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Kennedy (R-LA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Thom Tills (R-NC), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Alex Padilla (D-CA).

View the full letter HERE or below. 

Dear Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield:

We write with our utmost concern regarding the recent terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the region. We commend your unequivocal condemnation of Hamas’ terrorism and your support for Israel’s right to defend its people. Recent events have demonstrated that Hamas’ actions, tactics, and stated goals are in many ways indistinguishable from Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations the United Nations (UN) has sanctioned. Therefore, we write to urge you to bring a resolution to the UN Security Council recognizing and imposing sanctions on Hamas as a terrorist organization.

As you know, on October 7, 2023, thousands of Hamas terrorists launched attacks, including on civilian communities, in southern Israel, brutally murdering 1,400 innocent people and wounding 4,500 others. Additionally, Hamas kidnapped over 240 men, women, and children – ranging from infants to Holocaust survivors. Hamas terrorists have committed and continue to commit abhorrent attacks that not only impact Israelis but also directly impact Americans citizens, with at least 32 Americans killed and countless more held in captive as a result of the terrorist attack on October 7. In fact, Hamas hostages come from 25 countries around the world. Hamas’ reign of terror is not just an Israeli problem, but one that impacts us all.

Since October 1997, the US Department of Treasury has designated Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) as Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Additionally, these groups have been listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) since October 2001. Numerous other countries and international entities rightfully have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization, including Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Israel, the Organization of American States, Paraguay, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Switzerland is also actively exploring legal avenues to designate Hamas as a terrorist entity.

There are multiple consequences of the UN not recognizing Hamas as a terrorist organization. First, the lack of a unified voice among the international community risks eroding the UN’s credibility in response to one of the worst terrorist attacks in history. Additionally, as the largest financial contributor to the UN, the US must take urgent action to prevent the flow of funds into the hands of Hamas. The absence of UN sanctions on Hamas is a glaring loophole, circumventing US financial controls, such as the rigorous standards set by the US Department of Treasury, potentially allowing Hamas to evade US. sanctions. Furthermore, the lack of UN sanctions on Hamas enables them to bolster their capabilities by exploiting international financial channels, including accessing financial systems and soliciting donations from charities.

We are also concerned that a lack of UN sanctions enables Hamas to divert humanitarian aid for malicious intent, which deprives innocent Palestinian civilians of crucial assistance while simultaneously strengthening offensive capabilities used to attack Israel. Hamas continues to divert aid meant for civilians in order to fund its operations by:

  • Imposing “taxes” on humanitarian consignments at border checkpoints;
  • Seizing a segment of donated goods intended for Palestinian civilians and later selling them illicitly for financial gain;
  • Seizing donated supplies – as Hamas did on October 16, 2023, when they took fuel meant for Gazan hospitals from a United Nations Relief and Works Agency site; and
  • Dismantling and repurposing humanitarian facilities, like water and sewage components, to create rockets and missiles, some of which misfire and land in Gaza, causing Palestinian civilian casualties and posing threats to aid workers.

We therefore request you bring forward a UN resolution to recognize and sanction Hamas as a terrorist organization. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your timely response.

Sincerely,

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