House votes to bar State Department from citing Hamas casualty figures
Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL) listens during a hearing with the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on March 19, 2024 in Washington, DC. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

“The Gaza Ministry of Health is the Hamas Ministry of Health,” said Rep. Jared Moskowitz, who introduced the amendment.

By Andrew Bernard
June 27, 2024

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment to the annual U.S. State Department appropriations bill on Thursday that would bar the department from citing casualty figures from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) and co-sponsored by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) and Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), passed 269 to 144, with 62 Democrats joining 207 Republicans to ensure its passage.

All of the House Democratic leadership opposed the measure, except caucus vice chair Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). Two Republicans, Reps. Paul Gosar (Ariz.) and Matthew Rosendale (Mont.), also voted against the amendment.

In a floor speech supporting his amendment, Moskowitz said that civilian deaths in Gaza were tragic but that the State Department should not be using casualty figures provided by a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

“The Gaza Ministry of Health is the Hamas Ministry of Health,” Moskowitz said. “It is Hamas’s goal to sell propaganda to the American people, to sell propaganda to the world.”

“Hamas is not a credible source,” he added. “Since when is Hamas credible?”

U.S. President Joe Biden and administration officials have repeatedly cited Hamas’s casualty statistics in congressional testimony and press briefings, and Biden cited them in a State of the Union.

Defenders of the Hamas statistics claim that in previous rounds of conflict in Gaza, the terror group’s casualty claims have correlated broadly with later Israeli and U.N. conclusions. But in the current conflict, Hamas has issued multiple, self-contradictory claims about how many Palestinians have been killed in Gaza.

Earlier this month, an Associated Press analysis slammed the news outlet’s own reporting for repeating Hamas’s claim that more than two-thirds of the Gazan casualties were women and children, even as Hamas’s so-called “detailed” casualty lists refuted that claim.

Speaking on the House floor on Thursday to oppose the Moskowitz amendment, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said that the amendment was “genocide denial.”

“I know the majority of this chamber doesn’t believe Palestinians should live or exist,” Tlaib said. “There’s so much anti-Palestinian racism in this chamber that my colleagues don’t even want to acknowledge that Palestinians exist at all.”

Tlaib repeated Wednesday’s claimed death toll from the Hamas-controlled health ministry and said she would seek to submit the terrorist group’s casualty report into the record but added that it exceeds the page limit for such submissions.

Tlaib did not mention the word “Hamas” in her speech.

Following the passage of Moskowitz’s amendment into the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2025, the bill would need to pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the president before it would become law.

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