Australia on Thursday announced it will designate Hamas as a terror group in its entirety, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to praise the country for “standing strong in the face of terror.”
Until Thursday, Australia had only deemed Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, to be a terrorist organization.
The U.S., Canada, UK and E.U. list the entire Hamas as a terror group.
“Hamas’s attempts to paint itself as ‘legitimate’ are a farce,” Bennett said. “And they’re not fooling anyone. The world is growing to see Hamas for what it is: It’s a radical Islamic group that targets innocent civilians, Israelis — mothers, fathers, children — and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.”
Bennett went on to thank “my friend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, for the action he’s taking following our discussions on this matter… I thank Australia for standing strong in the face of terror and for remaining a strong and true friend of Israel.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also expressed his appreciation.
“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 tweeted. “The Foreign Ministry is leading, together with additional partners, an international effort targeting terrorist organizations, and Australia’s declaration is an important step in that effort.”
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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz thanked Australia for “designating the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organization — including its political wing, which plans, finances and conducts terror activities. Hamas targets civilians, threatens the State of Israel, and holds Gaza residents hostage.”
The move comes months after Australia recognized Hezbollah as a terror group.
Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked hailed the latest decision, saying: “Australia again chose the right side of history.”
Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews (pictured), who made the announcement, said it was “vital that our laws target not only terrorist acts and terrorists, but also the organizations that plan, finance and carry out these acts.”
“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.
This is who Hamas is. https://t.co/YNDh8nBLej
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 11, 2021
According to the Times of Israel, the new designation will place restrictions on financing or providing other support to Hamas, with certain offenses carrying a 25-year prison sentence.
Australia said it was also adding the U.S.-based far-right extremist group National Socialist Order to the terror list, the report said.
Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler said the new Hamas designation made clear Australia’s “absolute rejection of hatred and terrorism.”
“There is absolutely no doubt that Hamas in its entirety meets the definition of terrorist organization,” Leibler said in a statement.