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Australia to list Hamas as a terrorist organisation

Australian Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews in Washington, DC on 15 December 2021 [LEIGH VOGEL/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]
Australian Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews in Washington, DC on 15 December 2021 [LEIGH VOGEL/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

The government of Australia will list the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

"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," said Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews.

"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," Andrews added.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the development and thanked his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison "for following through on our dialogue on this important matter."

"This is another important step in the global fight against terrorism," Bennett tweeted.

The US, UK, EU and Canada have all previously blacklisted the group, which won democratic elections in 2006 and governs the besieged Gaza Strip.

The move has drawn sharp criticism from the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN), which said it "strongly disagrees" with a proposal that "does nothing to advance the cause of peace, and will only cause more suffering for the 2 million people currently surviving under a 15-year Israeli blockade."

The government has failed in its duty of searching for a peaceful solution and has shown it applies one set of rules to Palestine, and another to Israel

Bishop George Browning, the group's president, said in a statement.

"The entire process leading up to this designation has been led by those who have a political barrow to push, with only pro-Israeli groups being sought out for evidence. Once again this government has shown it has no interest in human rights, or the application of international law."

Australia listed Hamas' military wing – the Al-Qassam Brigades – as a "terror" group in 2003, but the new designation, which will come into force in April, will list the organisation in its entirety, including its political wing.

Nasser Mashni, vice president of the APAN, also called out the Australian government for its "biased approach to Palestinians."

"Israel has continually been found to be an apartheid state by human rights organizations, a crime against humanity, yet it is Palestinians who once again have to suffer from this targeted bigotry," he said.

"It's no wonder Palestinian-Australians suffer racial discrimination if the government itself is happy to paint a target on our backs."

Amnesty labels Israel an apartheid state

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