A 2021 Hamas rally in Gaza. (Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Hamas

While Canberra already banned Hamas’ “military wing,” move will blacklist group’s political activities too.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Australia is moving to designate Hamas in its entirety as an terror organization.

Many countries have blacklisted the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades as Hamas’s “armed wing,” but have not proscribed Hamas’s political activities. Canberra’s shift brings Australia in line with Israel, the U.S. and Britain.

The designation criminalizes membership in Hamas as well as recruiting, fundraising, providing support for or receiving training from it. Violations can lead to prison sentences, potentially up to 25 years.

Australia proscribed the Brigades in 2003.

Explaining the designation, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the views of Hamas were “deeply disturbing”.

“There is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies,” she said. “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.”

Israeli officials tweeted their support and appreciation to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“Thank you to our Australian partners for designating the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organization – including its political wing which plans, finances and conducts terror activities,” tweeted Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. “Hamas targets civilians, threatens the State of Israel and holds Gaza residents hostage.”

Australian-Palestinian groups criticized the designation, saying it would complicate efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network insisted that the designation will “cause more suffering for the 2 million people currently surviving under a 15-year Israeli blockade.”

Apologists for the Palestinian terror group have muddied the water with spurious distinctions between armed, political and even social welfare wings for years. But Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin himself always dismissed those distinctions. In 1998, he stressed to Reuters, “We cannot separate the wing from the body. If we do so, the body will not be able to fly. Hamas is one body.”

Other groups added to Australia’s terror list include two Al-Qaida-allied Islamist groups in Syria and the U.S.-based National Socialist Order. The NSO advocates for an international race war.