Australia intends to list Hamas as terrorist organisation
FILE PHOTO: Australian Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews at the US Department of Justice in Washington, December 15, 2021. (Photo: Leigh Vogel/Pool via REUTERS)

SYDNEY— The Australian government intends to list the entirety of Palestinian militant group Hamas as a terrorist organisation under the country’s criminal code, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said on Thursday (Feb 17).

A listing by Australia of the whole group, rather than just its military arm as at present, would bring its stance in line with the United States, the European Union and Britain.

“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,” Andrews said in a statement.

Andrews said she had written to Australia’s state and territory leaders to consult with them on listing the whole of Hamas, “and will finalise the listing as soon as possible.”

Hamas has political and military wings.

Founded in 1987, it opposes the existence of Israel and peace talks, instead advocating “armed resistance” against Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

“I welcome the news that Australia will list Hamas as a terrorist organization in its entirety,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement, thanking Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the move.

Comment from Hamas was not immediately available.

Currently, the military wing of Hamas, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is on Australia’s list of terrorist organisations.

Andrews said three other groups had been newly listed as terrorist organisations – Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham which are based in Syria, and the Nationalist Socialist Order, a group based in the United States.

Another four groups, Abu Sayyaf Group, al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb and Jemaah Islamiyah, were relisted under the code, she said.