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Committee’s recommendation to expand Hamas listing is welcome news

Oct 14, 2021 | AIJAC staff

Hamas fires rockets toward Israel territory. Photo: Israel MFA/Flickr
Hamas fires rockets toward Israel territory. Photo: Israel MFA/Flickr

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has welcomed the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s recommendation that the Australian Government considers listing all of Hamas as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code.

“For many years, AIJAC has argued that Hamas must be treated as a unitary entity because all of Hamas has been and remains committed to using terrorism to achieve its ends,” AIJAC executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said.

“We thank the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for giving full consideration to a range of evidence, including from AIJAC, in assessing Australia’s treatment of Hamas.”

“We are also grateful that the committee acknowledged that Hamas’ murderous intent extends to all Jewish people and note the following comment in the committee’s report: ‘In particular the Committee noted the violent rhetoric of the political leadership of Hamas, and how in many cases this goes beyond statements about armed struggle against the State of Israel to outright incitement of violence against Jewish people and very clearly meets the advocacy test set out in the Criminal Code.’

“We urge Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews to seriously consider the bipartisan recommendations of this committee. The committee has done excellent and thorough work in reaching this conclusion, which is supported by Australia’s Director-General of ASIO Mike Burgess.”

In its report tabled in Parliament on October 14, the committee agreed that the Australian Government should re-list the Hamas Izz al-Din al- Qassam Brigades under Australia’s terrorist listing protocols. The Hamas Brigades have been on Australia’s terrorist list since 2003.

But for the first time, the committee recommended that the Australian Government expand that listing. In citing the reasons for this, the committee correctly noted that there is no evidence that Hamas considers its Izz al-Din al- Qassam Brigades to be a separate entity.

The committee also noted that the ideology of Hamas, as a whole, is violent and Hamas  leadership makes no attempt to hide this.

Finally, the committee noted that officials from the Department of Home Affairs are not aware of any rationale as to why Australia does not already list Hamas in its entirety, leaving the path open for a more comprehensive listing in the future.

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