Australia Intends to Designate Hamas as a Terror Organization

The government of Australia signaled on Thursday it will designate Hamas as a terrorist organization, according to a statement made by Home Affairs Minister Keren Andrews.

“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,” Andrews said.

Australia initially sanctioned Hamas’ self-described military wing, al-Qassam Brigades, in November 2003. The new listing will also apply to Hamas’ so-called political wing. The decision will also have some effect on Hamas leaders living abroad such as Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mesha’al who have been able to skirt terrorist designations due to their status as politicians within the organization.

In response to the intent of listing the organization, Hamas published a statement condemning the decision saying the Australian government was “biased” and held a “double standard” towards Israel’s “heinous crimes.”

“While we reject this designation, we consider it biased to the Israeli occupation at the expense of the Palestinian rights and just cause. Australia’s designation holds it legal and moral responsibility for its double standards that reinforce and support a racist occupation that commits the most heinous crimes of murder and desecrates the sanctity of Islamic and Christian sites,” Hamas stated.

Palestinian militant organizations aligned with Hamas, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestinian Mujahideen Movement and the Popular Resistance Committees, also issued statements rejecting Australia’s decision against Hamas.

“We affirm that the inclusion of the resistance factions on the list of terrorism is a continuation of the ongoing Western aggression against our Palestinian people, their cause and their resistance. This decision will not affect the will of Hamas and its leadership. Rather, it will strengthen their determination to continue the path of jihad and resistance and to carry out their duty to protect our people, confront the occupation and bring down its plans,” a spokesperson for the Palestinian Mujahideen Movement said.

Australia’s intent to designate Hamas in its entirety follows a similar decision made by the United Kingdom in November 2021 to add the militant group to its list of terrorist organizations.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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