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UK to designate Hamas a terror group to 'combat anti-Semitism'

Hamas flags in Gaza on May 30, 2021 [Ömer Ensar - Anadolu Agency]
Hamas flags in Gaza on May 30, 2021 [Ömer Ensar - Anadolu Agency]

The UK will designate Hamas a terror organisation, making support for it in the country punishable by up to ten years in jail, the Guardian has reported.

Under plans due to be announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel today, the Palestinian political and resistance group will be proscribed under the Terrorism Act, which would ban the organisation's flags and meetings in the country.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel at the Bond Conference London, UK on 20 March 2017 [Bond/Flickr]

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel at the Bond Conference London, UK on 20 March 2017 [Bond/Flickr]

"We've taken the view that we can no longer disaggregate the sort of military and political side," she said. The UK has previously designated Hamas' military wing, the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades as a terror group. Patel claimed the move would help tackle anti-Semitism.

"Hamas is fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic," she is expected to say later today during her visit to the US. "Anti-Semitism is an enduring evil which I will never tolerate. Jewish people routinely feel unsafe – at school, in the streets, when they worship, in their homes, and online."

"This step will strengthen the case against anyone who waves a Hamas flag in the United Kingdom, an act that is bound to make Jewish people feel unsafe."

The US, EU and Canada have all previously blacklisted the group, which govern the besieged Gaza Strip.

In 2017, at a conference organised by MEMO, former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw intimated that he was dismissed from government because he had urged the government to talk to Hamas. "Some people say I was removed from the post of foreign secretary" because of these comments, he said.

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