DeSantis to Introduce Legislation Helping U.S. Victims of Terrorism Hold Terror-Financing States Accountable 

International Terror-Finance Accountability Act will complement Hamas sanctions legislation pending before Congress

Washington, DC – Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06), Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, today announced he will introduce legislation to help American victims of Palestinian terrorism hold foreign countries accountable if their state agencies help finance designated terrorist organizations like Hamas.

“If the President determines that an official arm of a foreign government is providing material support to terrorist organizations responsible for the murders of American citizens, the families of those citizens should have a right to hold those governments accountable,” DeSantis said.  “Our legislation will be a companion to the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act and, together, we will hold countries like Qatar accountable for financing international terrorism.”

H.R. 2712, the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017, is gaining traction in the House. That legislation requires the President to determine whether any agencies or instrumentalities connected to foreign states are financing Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations.  In H.R. 2712, Congress finds that Qatar has long been a supporter of Hamas, providing material support and sanctuary to its leaders.

However, since Qatar has never been formally designated by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism, U.S. victims of Hamas terrorism are prohibited by law from suing the government of Qatar for damages.  DeSantis’ legislation will solve that problem, amending the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to allow U.S. victims of terrorism to sue countries like Qatar the moment the President determines the Qatari government’s official agencies (or those of any other foreign state) have been involved in the financing of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“Terrorist organizations like Hamas cannot exist without foreign states like Qatar propping them up,” DeSantis said.  “The International Terror-Finance Accountability Act puts countries like Qatar on notice – change your course immediately or watch your assets get seized by the victims of the terrorism you finance.”