Australia says it will list Hamas as a ‘terrorist’ group | Hamas News

The Australian government has announced its intention to put the entire Palestinian movement Hamas on its list of banned “terrorist” organizations.

In response, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told Al Jazeera the movement strongly condemned Australia’s decision on Thursday, saying the move indicated a clear bias towards Israel. He added that the planned listing violates international laws that protect the right of Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation.

“Hamas is a national liberation movement that resists occupation in accordance with international laws and resolutions and humanitarian agreements,” he said.

“Those who should be classified as terrorists are the Israeli occupation which deliberately targets Palestinians and violates international and humanitarian laws and covenants,” Qassem said.

Australia previously listed the military wing of Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades as a “terrorist” group in 2003, but the new designation which will come into effect in April will list the organization in its entirety, including its political wing.

Hamas has ruled the beleaguered Gaza Strip since 2007 and has fought successive wars with Israel since then. Israel’s latest 11-day attack on Gaza in May last year killed at least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured more than 1,900 others. Rocket fire from Gaza also killed at least 12 people in Israel, including two children.

“The views of Hamas and the violent extremist groups listed today are deeply troubling, and there is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies,” Home Secretary Karen Andrews said.

The designation will impose restrictions on funding or providing other support to Hamas – with some offenses punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

“It is vital that our laws not only target terrorist acts and terrorists, but also the organizations that plan, fund and execute those acts,” Andrews said.

But the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, a national coalition of Australians who support Palestinian rights, disagreed with the designation, saying it does nothing to advance the cause of peace and will not only create more suffering for the two million people currently living under the 15-year sentence. Israeli blockade.

“The government has failed in its duty to seek a peaceful solution and has shown that it applies one set of rules to Palestine and another to Israel,” said Network President Bishop George Browning.

Israel welcomes decision

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hailed Australia’s decision, tweeting that it marked “another milestone in the global fight against terrorism”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also thanked Australian Ambassador to Israel Paul Griffiths for what he described as a “significant step” in Israel’s international effort to reduce organizations terrorists.

Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler said Hamas’ listing clearly showed Australia’s “absolute rejection of hatred and terrorism”.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Hamas in its entirety meets the definition of a terrorist organization,” Leibler said in a statement, adding that the decision aligns Australia with the United States, the European Union , Great Britain and Canada.

The United States and Canada have long designated Hamas as a terrorist group. A similar decision by the European Union had been the subject of a long legal battle, which finally resulted in the return of Hamas to the list of terrorists.

In November last year, Britain banned the group as a terrorist organisation, after Home Secretary Priti Patel pushed for the move, arguing it was not possible to do the distinction between the political and military wings of Hamas.

Following the UK’s decision, Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said the decision would not improve a climate of peace.

“There is a degree of gestural politics going on, whereby the UK government is trying to get tough on terrorism and anti-Semitism, but the reality is that it won’t have much of a significant impact on the ground where it really matters,” Doyle said. Al Jazeera at the time.

“I don’t think you’re going to see any violence as a result of this, nor will it have any impact on the fight against anti-Semitism because those who hold anti-Jewish views and talk about it are going to do it. whatever,” he said.

Al Jazeera’s Maram Humaid contributed reporting from Gaza

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