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AIJAC welcomes sanctions move on Hamas supporters – described as a “step in the right direction”

Nov 18, 2023 | AIJAC

Australian FM Senator Penny Wong announced new sanctions against individuals associated with Hamas on Nov. 18 (Image: Facebook)
Australian FM Senator Penny Wong announced new sanctions against individuals associated with Hamas on Nov. 18 (Image: Facebook)

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council has welcomed the announcement that the Australian Government was imposing counter-terrorism financing sanctions on eight persons and one entity in response to the vicious acts of terrorism perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, 2023 on Israel – describing it as a “step in the right direction”.

These persons include Hamas members, operatives and financial facilitators, along with a currency exchange owned by one individual.

Three days ago (November 15), AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein issued a call urging the Australian Government to impose its own sanctions against Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad under our autonomous sanctions framework – bringing Australia into line with the United Kingdom and the United States.

“We welcome this action and see it as a first step,” Dr Rubenstein said.

The Australian announcement comes after the US imposed its third round of sanctions against Hamas and those assisting the militant group.

AIJAC also took the opportunity to renew its call on the Government to list Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation under Australia’s Criminal Code, as a Senate Committee recommended in February.

Dr Rubenstein said, “Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are both listed as terrorist organisations under Australia’s Criminal Code and are the cause of all the heartbreaking devastation and loss of life seen in Israel and Gaza today. Closing off their capacity to finance their terrorism and start wars with Israel would be a major step toward restoring peace to both Israelis and Palestinians.”

“Ultimately, both of these organisations are financed, armed and controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC. The same is true of all the other proxies currently firing at Israel, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Houthis in Yemen and various Shi’ite militias in Syria and Iraq.”

“If Australia’s policy is to restore peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike, the address of Australia’s sanctions should ultimately be the regime in Iran.”

In 2001, Australia imposed counter-terrorism financing sanctions against Hamas in its entirety. Since that time, we have sanctioned a further six entities and three persons with links to Hamas.

Australian law makes it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment and heavy fines, to provide assets to sanctioned individuals or entities or to use or deal with their assets. These measures enable their activity to be prevented and holds them and those that transact with them directly to account.

Dr Rubenstein added, “make no mistake, Hamas is a genocidal terrorist movement – as Australian law agrees – and its role in the attacks should have been condemned by the world. We must also remember that they are still holding 240 hostages – which include women, babies and the elderly.”

“The war in Gaza is underway because Israel has to urgently remove Hamas’ ability to wage war against Israelis and also give Palestinians living under its tyrannical rule in Gaza a chance at a better future. Hamas’ use of Palestinian civilians as human shields is unequivocally a war crime,” he concluded.

Senator Wong’s announcement: Sanctions in response to Hamas terror attacks | Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (foreignminister.gov.au)

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