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Editorial

Hamas is just Hamas

'How many more innocents have to die before Australia wakes up?'

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holds the child of an Al-Qassam Brigades fighter, killed in the May conflict with Israel, during a rally in Gaza. 
Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holds the child of an Al-Qassam Brigades fighter, killed in the May conflict with Israel, during a rally in Gaza. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

JEWISH Australians were shocked and saddened to hear that young Israeli Eli Kay was murdered by a Hamas terrorist in Jerusalem on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who made aliyah from South Africa, had family ties in Australia and studied here in 2015. He has been remembered by all who knew him as a great student and a friendly, dedicated person.

Engaged to be married in a few months, he had the best part of his life ahead of him.

Kay was a victim of Hamas terrorist Fadi Abu-Shkhaydam, who shot at Israelis as they made their way to the Kotel. It was the second attack in four days after two policemen were wounded in a stabbing attack in the Old City.

Abu-Shkhaydam was a member of the political wing of Hamas, a section of the terrorist organisation that disturbingly has not been proscribed in Australia.

Our communal roof bodies this year 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.

Reasons given 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.

In its submission, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry points out that Hamas’s political leaders have overseen and participated directly in terrorist operations. They have admitted multiple times that the military wing answers to the political leadership, and that assistance from Iran applies to the organisation in its entirety.

Proscription would give the Australian government important security resources, for example, being able to freeze the organisation’s finances.

The AJN has long argued that the distinction between the political and the military wings of Hamas is fanciful. It is deeply concerning that Canberra still makes this artificial distinction by listing the military division as a proscribed terrorist outfit but not extending that status to the political side.

Last week, the UK announced it would no longer draw a distinction. We urge our government to follow suit, and expand proscription to Hamas’s political wing in the name of commonsense and decency.

How many more innocents have to die before Australia wakes up?

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