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AIJAC welcomes new Australian sanctions targeting Hamas, Hezbollah, PIJ and the IRGC

Jan 23, 2024 | AIJAC staff

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) welcomes the announcement of additional Australian sanctions targeting terrorism financing, and listing 12 persons and three entities linked to Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and, most importantly, their overseer, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF).

This adds to the 17 persons and seven entities linked to Hamas, Hezbollah and PIJ previously listed by the Government. All three groups are already sanctioned in their entirety by Australia.

Those targeted in this sanctions package include Hamas’ Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar; military leader Muhammed Deif; politburo members Mahmoud al-Zahar and Maher Obeid; senior official Ali Baraka; Hamas’ representative in Iran, Khaled Qaddoum; several financial facilitators; and PIJ leader Akram al-Ajouri, based in Damascus.

AIJAC further applauds that this action was undertaken in coordination with the United States, United Kingdom and European Union. AIJAC emphasised on January 12 that Australia can directly contribute to a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza “by coordinating with its allies to sever the financial lifelines of the [Hamas].”

AIJAC also calls on the Government to follow in the footsteps of the European Union, which announced on January 19 the establishment of a dedicated sanctions framework “to hold accountable any individual or entity who supports, facilitates or enables violent actions by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

AIJAC especially commends the Government for sanctioning two senior IRGC-QF officials, Ali Marshad Shirazi and Mostafa Mohammad Khani, responsible for training Palestinian terrorist groups and Hezbollah.

These sanctions against IRGC-QF officials also further underline that the IRGC itself must be listed as a terrorist organisation under Australia’s Criminal Code, something for which AIJAC has been calling for more than a year, since this was one of 12 key recommendations included in a Senate committee report on Australia’s Iran policy released on February 1, 2023.

AIJAC hopes the Government will also now consider listing Yemen’s Houthis, more formally known as Ansar Allah, as a terrorist organisation, as the US announced it was doing on January 17. Australia has already supported several rounds of US and UK strikes on the Houthis in response to more than 30 attacks on international shipping, and a listing would enable the Government to apply additional financial pressure on them to deter and/or punish further attacks in the Red Sea.

Notably, all four of these groups – Ansar Allah, Hamas, Hezbollah and PIJ – are proxies of the IRGC, without which they would not and could not conduct most of their terrorist activities. If Hamas, Hezbollah and PIJ are listed as terrorist organisations, the group that stands behind all of them and is responsible for funding and supplying training and arms for their terrorist activities, the IRGC, should be listed as well.

Dr. Colin Rubenstein
Executive Director

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