Following alarming rise of radical Islam and jihadist activities, Britain finally has moved forward in banning Palestinian mega-terror outfit Hamas. According to media reports, Britain’s interior minister Priti Patel on Friday said she had banned the Palestinian militant group Hamas in a move that brings the UK’s stance on Gaza’s rulers in line with the United States and the European Union.
Since 2001, the UK has solely recognized Hamas’s military wing as a terrorist organization, but now it will extend the political wing of the militant Palestinian group that illegally controls the Gaza Strip and continues terrorist activities targeting Israel and other nations in the world.
The United States, Canada, the European Union, Israel and Japan have similarly designated Hamas in its entirety as a terror organization. Australia, New Zealand and Paraguay have only applied the terror label to Hamas’s military wing. Countries like India, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Nepal for example are yet to outlaw this notorious Palestinian terrorist group.
Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that Australia was deliberating whether to similarly outlaw Hamas’s political wing.
In her speech, Patel is expected to explain that the legitimization of Hamas’ political wing, “creates an artificial distinction between various parts of the organization – it is right that the listing is updated to reflect this.”
“If we tolerate extremism, it will erode the rock of security,” Patel wrote, adding that Britain’s Jewish community feels especially threatened by Hamas.
“This is an important step, especially for the Jewish community. Hamas is fundamentally and rabidly antisemitic. Antisemitism is an enduring evil which I will never tolerate. Jewish people routinely feel unsafe – at school, in the streets, when they worship, in their homes, and online,” Patel wrote in her speech.
“This step will strengthen the case against anyone who waves a Hamas flag in the United Kingdom, an act that is bound to make Jewish people feel unsafe. Anyone who supports or invites support for a proscribed organization is breaking the law. That now includes Hamas in whatever form it takes,” she added.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid welcomed the move on Twitter, noting that it was a sign of the growing bond between the countries. Britain’s policy shift on Hamas, he wrote was the result of an intense and intimate dialogue between the two countries. On the Israeli side, he credited Bennett, Defense Minster Benny Gantz, the Foreign Ministry and Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely.
In her speech, Patel wrote, was also essential to ensure the security of citizens and to protect the country’s free market.
“Freedom is utterly dependent on security. I believe it is impossible for an individual or a country to be both free and unsafe. If you ask me if I’m more of a free-marketeer or more concerned with law-and-order, I will tell you that’s a false dichotomy.
“Free markets don’t exist in a state of nature. They can only exist with the rule of law. You cannot have free markets and a thriving economy if people, property, and business are unprotected”, Patel wrote.
“What capitalism represents is freedom – the space to create, ingenuity – the very thing our adversaries seek to undermine. They do so not just to gain economic advantage, but to destabilize us all together. We must not let them”, Patel wrote.
“We cannot hope to stay safe or to live freely if we are sheepish about calling out wrongdoing. Several governments are willing and capable of overt and covert action that undermines the United Kingdom’s national security. This includes such activity from state or state-backed organizations in Russia, China, and Iran”, she wrote.
It may be mentioned here that, recently Hamas kingpins have been openly proclaiming their alliances with Iran and Iranian proxies such as Houthis, Hezbollah etcetera.
Mega terror outfit Hamas will be banned in Britain under the Terrorism Act and that anyone expressing support for Hamas, flying its flag or arranging meetings for the organization would be in breach of the law, the interior ministry confirmed. Patel is expected to present the change to parliament next week.
Hamas – full name the ‘Islamic Resistance Movement’ – 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”.
Until now Britain had banned only its military arm — the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
Hamas political official Sami Abu Zuhri said Britain’s move showed “absolute bias toward the Israeli occupation and is a submission to Israeli blackmail and dictations”.
“Resisting occupation by all available means, including armed resistance, is a right granted to people under occupation as stated by the international law”, said Hamas in a separate statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the decision, saying in a Twitter post: “Hamas is a terrorist organization, simply put. The ‘political arm’ enables its military activity”.
“Thank you to my friend [Boris Johnson] for your leadership”, Bennett wrote. The two leaders had met on the sidelines of the Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.
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