The Australian government announced on Thursday that it would list Hamas, in its entirety, as a terrorist organisation.
Hamas, which has complete control of the Gaza Strip, has long terrorised Israel and the citizens of Gaza. Hamas openly seeks to destroy Israel and has called for the killing of Jews around the world. Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian areas, each one a war crime, and has orchestrated campaigns of suicide bombings and deadly attacks.
“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 Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews.
Australia had previously only designated Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades as terrorists. Although the terrorist group themselves makes no such separation.
The new designation will place restrictions on financing or providing other support to Hamas — with certain offences carrying a 25-year prison sentence.
“It is vital that our laws target not only terrorist acts and terrorists, but also the organizations that plan, finance and carry out these acts,” Andrews added.
The news of Hamas being outlawed in Australia has been welcomed by Israeli politicians.
Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the development and thanked his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison “for following through on our dialogue on this important matter.”
“This is another important step in the global fight against terrorism,” Bennett tweeted.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted his gratitude to Australia for “designating the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organization — including its political wing which plans, finances and conducts terror activities. Hamas targets civilians, threatens the State of Israel, and holds Gaza residents hostage.”
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked also praised the move as a follow-up to Australia last year labeling the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group as a terror organization, tweeting that: “Australia again chose the right side of history.”
Last year the UK outlawed Hamas in its entirety. Other countries that have done the same include the United States and the European Union. Australia has also outlawed Hezbollah, the terrorist group in Lebanon that also threatens Israel’s security.
It is good to see more countries take seriously the threat of Hamas. Let’s hope these laws can stamp out support for the terrorist group in their respective countries.
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