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PLO rejects Washington’s inclusion of Haniyeh on 'terrorism blacklist'

February 2, 2018 at 12:04 am

Ismail Haniyeh, Head of Hamas Political Bureau [Mustafa Hassona/ Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) rejected the US Treasury Department decision to include the head of Hamas’s political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, in the “terrorism blacklist.”

The secretary of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Saeb Erekat, said that the organisation rejects the US decision against Haniyeh.

In a press statement on Thursday, Erekat stressed the need to eliminate the causes of division and achieving national unity in order to preserve the Palestinian national project and face plans that are aimed to foil it.

On Wednesday, a number of Palestinian factions expressed their rejection of US inclusion of the head of Hamas’ political bureau in the “terrorism blacklist”.

A statement issued on Wednesday by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Treasury (OFAC), and published on its official website, said that the United States “added Haniyeh’s name to the blacklist of global terrorists.”

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The decision included the inclusion of Haniyeh and three Palestinian and Egyptian movements to the blacklist, namely the Palestinian Al-Saberin Movement, and the two Egyptian groups Hasam and Liwaa Al-Thawra, following two decisions of the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Treasury Department.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed that reason behind the inclusion of Haniyeh and the three movements is that they are “major terrorist movements and figures, including two are supported by Iran, and are threatening the stability of the Middle East, undermining the peace process and attacking US allies, including Egypt and Israel.”

“The measures taken against Haniyeh and the three Palestinian and Egyptian movements are essential steps to deprive them of the resources they need to plan and launch terrorist attacks,” Tillerson said.

He pointed out that “the US State Department considers that Haniyeh is closely linked to the military wing of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.”

Hamas was included in the US blacklist of terrorism in 1997 and was re-listed in 2001 as a terrorist organisation.

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The US Foreign Terrorism List includes a group of Palestinian, Arab and international personalities and organisations.

In addition to Haniyeh, there are eight Palestinian leaders who are included in the so-called “blacklists of terrorism”: Yahya Sinwar, Rawhi Mushtaha, Muhammed Deif, Fathi Hamad, Ahmed Al-Ghandour of Hamas and Secretary-General of Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine Ramadan Shalah and his deputy Ziad Al-Nakhala.

Under this classification, any American citizen or resident in the United States is prevented from dealing with Haniyeh, in addition to freezing all his property and money within the territory of the United States or those within its jurisdiction.

Washington uses this classification against alleged “high risk of terrorist acts that threaten the security of US citizens, the national security of the United States, its foreign policy or its economy.”