THE potential listing of Hamas in its entirety as a proscribed terrorist organisation by Australia is a step closer after a parliamentary committee declared its military brigades and political leadership one entity.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) released its report last week after conducting its review into re-listing the organisation’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades as a terrorist group. During the inquiry the committee heard evidence that the listing should be expanded to include Hamas as a whole.
Among the witnesses, director-general of security at the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Mike Burgess said he would support such a listing.
Announcing its recommendation that Hamas be proscribed in its entirety, committee chair Senator James Paterson said it was clear that the whole of Hamas met the definition of a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code.
“Currently, the US, Canada and the EU list the whole organisation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation under their respective proscription regimes,” he said.
“The expert evidence provided to the committee overwhelmingly rejected the idea that Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operates independently from the rest of the organisation. There was agreement that Hamas operates as a singular entity with overlapping personnel, finances and structure.
“In addition, leaders of Hamas have repeatedly made statements which meet the advocacy test for terrorist listing, including direct incitement of acts of violence against Jewish people.”
The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA), Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) all made submissions and gave evidence to the PJCIS inquiry.
ZFA president Jeremy Leibler said, “That Hamas meets the definition of a terrorist organisation is obvious to anyone who examines Hamas’s actions, statements and intentions.
“The bipartisan nature of the committee’s report shows that Parliament is united on the need to proscribe the entire organisation. This is a welcome development.”
Urging Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews “to seriously consider the bipartisan recommendations”, AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein said, “The committee has done excellent and thorough work in reaching this conclusion, which is supported by Australia’s Director-General of ASIO Mike Burgess.”
ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim added, “The committee has seen right through Hamas, and the committee’s report has laid bare the terrorist and racist essence of Hamas from top to bottom.
“The committee deserves high praise for its diligence and insight.”
A similar recommendation was made regarding Hezbollah in June.