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Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) today delivered an opening statement at a Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa hearing entitled “Challenges and Opportunities for the U.S.-Saudi Relationship.” Video of Chairman Royce’s remarks is available HERE.

Below are Chairman Royce’s remarks, as delivered at the hearing:

“And let me just make an observation at the outset here, and that is: Qatar’s relationship with Hamas remains very concerning. Senior leaders of Hamas and the military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood – which is an Islamist group designated as terrorists by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates – all reside in Qatar today.

And earlier this month – and I think this is what is most concerning for all of us here – more Hamas tunnels were found under two U.N. Relief Works Agency schools in Gaza. Found underneath the schools in Gaza. So Hamas is still using civilians and children to hide its activities. And that, to me, does not sound like a legitimate resistance movement.

And it’s deeply concerning that, in the face of mounting international pressure, Qatar has doubled down on its relationship with Hamas. Just a day ago, Qatar’s foreign minister called Hamas ‘a legitimate resistance movement.’

And that’s one of the reasons why I have joined with Ranking Member Engel, and Representative Brian Mast, and Representative Josh Gottheimer, and several other members of this Committee, in introducing the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act.

This bill will impose sanctions on foreign persons and agencies, and yes, on governments that assist Hamas or assist Palestinian Islamic Jihad or the affiliates of these two groups. And specifically, this legislation will sanction anyone that provides Hamas with diplomatic or financial support or who shelters their operatives.

This practice needs to end now. There is no such thing as a ‘good terrorist group.’”