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UN chief: Hamas is not a terrorist group, it's a political movement

February 16, 2024 at 11:48 am

United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator Martin Griffiths on 10 January 2022 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths has said the UN does not consider Hamas a terrorist group, classing it as a “political group”.

In an interview with Sky News yesterday, Griffith said: “I have worked with many, many, many diff terrorist and insurgent groups. Hamas is not a terrorist group for us, as you know, it’s a political group.”

Asked if he thinks Israel’s stated aim for bombing Gaza, eliminating Hamas, is achievable, he said: “I think, it’s very, very difficult to dislodged these groups without a negotiated solution which includes their aspirations. I cannot think of an example of a place where a victory through warfare has succeeded against a well entrenched group, terrorist or otherwise.”

Griffith then took to social media to expand on his remarks, saying: “Just to clarify: Hamas is not on the list of groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council. This doesn’t make their acts of terror on 7 October any less  horrific and reprehensible, as I’ve been saying all along.”

Hamas is a political movement, established in the late 1980s by the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 1987, after the outbreak of the First Intifada against the Israeli occupation. In 2006 it won Palestine’s democratically-held national election, however the West refused the results and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas – a US ally – refused to cede power, causing a split within Palestinian society which continues to this day.

Israel has long sought to vilify Hamas, claiming it to be a terrorist organisation because it stands against Tel Aviv’s ongoing ethnic cleansing and occupation of Palestinian lands. The US, UK and the European Union have designated the Palestinian faction a terrorist group.

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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