‘No Place for Hateful Ideologies’: Israel Welcomes Australia’s Move to Fully List Hamas as Terror Group
Israeli top officials welcomed the Australian government’s intention to list the whole of the Palestinian Hamas group as a terrorist organization, calling the move a “meaningful step.”
Announcing the move on Thursday, Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews stated that 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.”
“It is vital that our laws target not only terrorist acts and terrorists, but also the organizations that plan, finance and carry out these acts,” she said.
Membership in all of Hamas, including its political wing, will now be barred, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his efforts and the country for “standing strong in the face of terror.”
“Hamas’ attempts to paint itself as ‘legitimate’ are a farce. And they’re not fooling anyone,” Bennett said. “Hamas has fired tens of thousands of rockets towards Israeli homes and schools, and it’s responsible for the murder of many Israelis and the deaths of many Palestinians in Gaza.
“It’s a radical Islamic group that targets innocent civilians, Israelis — mothers, fathers, children — and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel,” he added.
In a statement, Hamas said it “deplores the Australian government’s decision and urged its government to backtrack this decision that harms its reputation of respecting human rights and recognition of international laws and norms.”
“We consider it biased to the Israeli occupation at the expense of the Palestinian rights and just cause,” the group said.
Australia’s announcement comes after the country in November designated the whole of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organization.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the country is leading a global effort to target terrorist organizations, calling the decision by Australia an “important step in that effort.
In November, the United Kingdom moved to proscribe the entire Hamas organization, including its political wing, as a terror group, two decades after its military wing was outlawed.
“With this declaration, Australia joins the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and others in recognizing the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organization,” Lapid said Thursday.
Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz also commended Australia for designating the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organization, including its political wing, which he said “plans, finances and conducts terror activities.”
“Hamas targets civilians, threatens the State of Israel and holds Gaza residents hostage,” Gantz remarked.
The American Jewish Committee called on other countries to follow suit and take similar action against the terror group’s “nefarious activities.”