The United Kingdom’s decision Friday to designate the entirety of Hamas as a terror organization and outlaw support for the group is a major blow for the Islamist group, which carries out significant fundraising there, Channel 13 reported.
The UK proscribed the terror group’s military wing — the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades — in 2001. But the Hamas political leadership remained technically in the clear until now.
This enabled Hamas to raise funds that were channeled to institutions including Gaza’s Islamic University, the leading facility for advancing the technology used in Hamas missile and other weapons development, the report said.
Hamas reacted angrily to the decision, with spokesperson Hazim Qasim calling it “a new crime committed by Britain against our Palestinian people.”
In a separate statement, Hamas condemned the move as one of a long line of British “sins” against the Palestinian people. The terror group singled out the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which affirmed British support for establishing a Jewish state.
“Rather than apologizing and correcting its historical sins towards the Palestinian people, whether the shameful Balfour Declaration, or the British Mandate, that turned Palestinian land over to the Zionist movement — [Britain] supports the aggressors at the expense of the victims,” the terror group said in a statement.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is in charge of domestic security, said on Friday on Twitter that she had “acted to proscribe Hamas in its entirety.”
The ban, which must be approved by Parliament, would make it illegal in Britain to be a member of Hamas or to express support for the group, with a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
The government said it hoped the banning order would be approved by Parliament within the week and take effect November 26.
Channel 13 said that Israel had been working with the UK for a long time in a bid to bring about the ban, but the final decisions were made following talks between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his British counterpart Borris Johnson earlier in the month on the sidelines of the Glasgow environment summit. READ MORE
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