USING violence against civilians to achieve political, religious and ideological objectives is embedded in the worldview, doctrine and modus operandi of Hamas as a whole, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has said in a submission to the government.
ECAJ, along with the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) and the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) have all made submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security citing the need to proscribe the terror group as a whole and not just its military wing.
Common reasons listed include the group’s ideology and methodology, the involvement of its political leaders in carrying out attacks and its links to and funding from Iran.
“The available evidence indicates that there is no rigid separation between the al-Qassam Brigades and the rest of Hamas, to the contrary there is considerable cross-over not only in command and control but also in terms of funding, personnel, recruitment and membership,” ECAJ said.
“Hamas political leaders … have admitted in a variety of contexts that Hamas’s military wing is subordinate to the political leadership.”
AIJAC said given that multiple intelligence agencies, NGOs, independent analysts and courts have ruled that the Hamas Brigades are “inextricably intertwined” with its political leadership and that there is no clear division of responsibility in recruitment, planning, financing and operations, “It is not clear why the Australian government has not yet listed Hamas in its entirety.
“This is particularly disconcerting in view of the fact that no concrete evidence has been produced, even by Hamas itself, to argue that the Hamas Brigades are a distinct entity … and the founder of the group openly rejected such a distinction,” AIJAC said.
“Hamas’s ability to fundraise through charity networks and the donations of supporters should be another issue of concern for the Australian government. Extending the listing to the entire organisation would assist Australia’s law enforcement agencies to investigate and cut off these potential alternative sources of funding.”
The ZFA noted the definition of a terrorist organisation in the Criminal Code is “an organisation that is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act”.
“The non-Brigades part of Hamas directly or indirectly prepares, plans and assists in the doing of terrorist acts, through recruitment, procurement of arms and finances, and vocal encouragement,” it said, noting as a comparison, “Islamic State was not recognised as a legitimate ruling authority by Australia. Islamic State was both a government ruling over the land it controlled and a terrorist militia.
“There are obvious parallels here to Hamas.”
The group is proscribed in its entirety by Israel, the US, Canada, Japan and the EU.