(New York, N.Y.) – Today, U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that Hamas, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), will be similarly banned in its entirety under the U.K.’s Terrorism Act. The new policy will supplant a ban on the Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The British government’s latest move represents both a rejection of the group’s extreme antisemitic ideology and a recognition that artificially dividing Hamas into separate military and political wings, like with Hezbollah, was a mistake.
Hamas, the Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, uses its provision of social services to build grassroots support amongst Palestinians, helping it to win the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. Governance, however, did not moderate Hamas or temper its commitment to terrorism. Hamas has continued to carry out bombings, rocket and mortar attacks, shootings, and kidnappings. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch accused Hamas of war crimes when it fired thousands of rockets and mortars into Israeli population centers and endangered Palestinian as well as Israeli civilians. In 2015, Amnesty International similarly accused Hamas of war crimes against Palestinian civilians during its 2014 conflict with Israel.
Hamas does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and has dedicated itself to violently seeking Israel’s destruction. It has been steadfast in its refusal to disarm, while its leaders have remained committed to the group’s violent strategy. In response to Britain’s planned proscription today, Hamas again reiterated its commitment to so-called “armed resistance.” In 2013, Hamas leaders declared the “gun” is the “only response” to Israel. The 1988 Hamas charter reiterates a Quranic call for Muslims to “fight the Jews (killing the Jews)” before the arrival of Judgment Day. Despite Hamas’s insistence that it is only anti-Israel and not antisemitic, Hamas members continue to use “Jews” and “Israel” interchangeably in calling for violence.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Hamas, please click here.