HomeTop NewsWorldIsrael welcomes Australia's move to list Hamas as ‘terrorist’ group

Israel welcomes Australia’s move to list Hamas as ‘terrorist’ group

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In a statement, the Australian government has indicated that it intends to put the whole Palestinian movement Hamas to its “terrorist” list.

Hamas, which has ruled the embattled Gaza Strip since 2007, did not respond immediately on Thursday.

In 2003, Australia designated Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades military arm as a “terrorist” group, but the latest designation, which will take effect in April, will include the entire organization, including its political component.

Since 2007, Hamas has fought Israel in a series of battles. In May of last year, an 11-day Israeli attack on Gaza killed at least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injured over 1,900 others. At least 12 people in Israel have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza, including two toddlers.

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

The designation imposes limitations on financing or providing any assistance to Hamas, with certain offenses carrying a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

“It is vital that our laws target not only terrorist acts and terrorists, but also the organisations that plan, finance and carry out these acts,” Andrews added.

However, the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, a national coalition of Australians who support Palestinian rights, opposes the designation, claiming that it does nothing to advance the cause of peace and will only exacerbate the suffering of the two million Palestinians currently living under Israel’s 15-year blockade.

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

Israel applauds the development

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett applauded Australia’s decision, writing on Twitter that it was “another important step in the global fight against terrorism.”

Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, thanked the Australian Ambassador to Israel Paul Griffiths for what he called a “significant step” in Israel’s international effort to combat terrorist groups.

President of the Zionist Federation of Australia, Jeremy Leibler, said the Hamas designation demonstrated Australia’s “absolute rejection of hatred and terrorism.”

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

Hamas has long been recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and Canada. A previous European Union judgment had sparked a protracted legal struggle, with Hamas eventually being reinstated on the terror list.

Britain designated the group as a terrorist organization in November of last year, after Home Secretary Priti Patel pressed for it, claiming that it was impossible to discern between Hamas’ political and military components.

The decision, according to Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, will not strengthen the climate of peace.

“There is a degree of gesture politics going on, whereby the UK government is trying to look tough on terrorism and anti-Semitism, but the reality is that this will not have much meaningful impact on the ground where it really matters,” Doyle told Al Jazeera at the time.

“I don’t think you are going to see any stemming of violence at all as a result of this, nor will it impact the fighting against anti-Semitism because those who hold anti-Jewish views and spout it out are going to do so regardless,” he said.

Image Credit: Getty

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