image Photo: Flash90

Australia brands Hamas a terror group

Canberra will designate the entirety of the Islamist Palestinian Hamas as a terrorist organization under the country’s criminal code.

By Erin Viner

“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,” announced Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews in a statement today.

She said Australia’s state and territorial leaders have been informed of the decision and that she will consult with them on listing the whole of Hamas” in order to “finalize the listing as soon as possible.”

Other groups either newly or relisted as terrorist organizations the Syria-based Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham groups, and the Nationalist Socialist Order in the United States; as well as the Abu Sayyaf,  al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb and Jemaah Islamiyah Islamist groups.

Until now, Australia had joined New Zealand and Paraguay in designating only the Hamas Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing – but not its political section – as “terrorist.”

Nations that have already designated the Islamist group in its entirety as a terror organization include Israel, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.

Hamas, an acronym in Arabic for the “Islamic Resistance Movement,” clearly identifies with the global Muslim Brotherhood by inclusion in its Charter of the Islamist Movement slogan: “Allah is its goal, the Prophet is the model, the Qur’an (Koran) its constitution, Jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief.”

The radical Islamist Palestinian group, which was founded in 1987, advocates “armed resistance” to annihilate Israel and is adamantly opposed to the Mideast peace process.  Hamas seized control of Gaza in an internecine 2007 war from its bitter Fatah rival, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Last month, Hamas Political Bureau Chief revealed that Iran has funneled roughly $70 million solely earmarked for combating the Jewish State, including development of the Gaza-rulers’ rocket arsenal and defensive infrastructure. He went on to declare that the fighting was merely a “rehearsal for the Liberation of Palestine” – in reference to the Hamas Charter which pledges to raise the armies of Islam for the purpose of conquering all of the lands of Israel ‘from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.’ Haniyeh also emphasized that the Ayatollah regime and his Palestinian faction are operating in full cooperation against their “common enemy Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett immediately issued a statement congratulating and thanking his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, the “Australian government and people, and everyone that’s been involved in this meaningful step,” stressing, “Hamas has fired tens of thousands of rockets towards Israeli homes and schools, and it’s responsible for the murder of many Israelis and the deaths of many Palestinians in Gaza.”

Underscoring that, “Hamas’ attempts to paint itself as “legitimate” are a farce. And they’re not fooling anyone,” Bennett said, “The world is growing to see Hamas for what it is: a radical Islamic group that targets innocent civilians, Israelis—mothers, fathers, children—and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. You see, terrorists only understand strength. And I thank Australia for standing strong in the face of terror and for remaining a strong and true friend of Israel.”

Also commending the move, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid underscored that “This declaration will make joining or assisting Hamas a criminal offense in Australia.”

Saying that he personally thanked Canberra’s Ambassador to Jerusalem, Lapid said that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) “is leading, together with additional partners, an international effort targeting terrorist organizations and Australia’s declaration is an important step in that effort.”

“I thank the staff of the Israeli Embassy in Australia, the Strategic Affairs Division, and the Asia-Pacific Division for today’s achievement, which follows Australia’s declaration of the entirety of Hezbollah and Britain’s declaration of the entirety of Hamas as terrorist organizations in November 2021,” added Lapid, who also serves as Alternate Premier.

Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz also released a statement hailing the move.

“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,” said Israel’s top defense official, stressing that, “Hamas targets civilians, threatens the State of Israel and holds Gaza residents hostage.”

Australia took a similar action last November by extending the prior classification of just the military wing as terrorist to include the entirety of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group based in Lebanon.

“There is absolutely no place in Australia for violent extremism,” Home Affairs Minister Andrews told reporters at the time, emphasizing that “There is no cause – religious or ideological – that can justify killing innocent people.”

The Shi’ite Islamist group “continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to terrorist organizations” that present “real” and “credible” danger in Australia, she added.