United Kingdom’s Campaign to Suppress Hamas
The UK government's efforts to label Hamas a “terrorist” organization should be viewed in the context of “Israel's” global efforts to stifle pro-Palestinian action.
Britain's Interior Minister laid before Parliament on November 19 an order banning the Palestinian Movement Hamas from the UK in its entirety under the so-called Terrorism Act, which has been in effect since March 2001. Hamas is the Palestinian nationalist and Islamist Movement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip dedicated to the establishment of an independent state in historical Palestine. Hamas began as a Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, with the stated objective of establishing a Palestinian state on all of the occupied territories. “Israel” and its Western allies imposed harsh economic and diplomatic sanctions on Hamas that are against "Israel's" occupation of Palestinian lands (Dawn, 2021).
Home Secretary Priti Patel described Hamas as "fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic," adding that the ban was necessary to protect the Jewish community. A ban, if approved by Parliament, would make it illegal in the United Kingdom to be a member of Hamas or to express support for the group, including flying its flag or wearing a T-shirt bearing the group's logo. The maximum sentence is 14 years in prison. The government said it hoped the ban would be approved by Parliament and go into effect soon (Tayyaba, 2021).
Significantly, Hamas has condemned Britain's decision to classify the group as a terrorist organization. According to Hamas political official Sami Abu Zuhri, Britain's decision demonstrates "absolute bias toward the Israeli occupation and submission to Israeli blackmail and dictations. Resisting occupation by all available means, including armed resistance, is a right granted to people under occupation as stated by the international law."
Furthermore, the Palestinian Mission to the UK, which represents President Mahmoud Abbas' Western-backed Palestinian Authority, also condemned the move. Instead of repenting and making amends for its historical transgression, the British government is helping Israeli aggressors. Hamas referred to the Balfour Declaration and British Mandate, which claimed: "Palestinian lands to the Zionist movement". The group urged its supporters to express their rejection of the UK's decision, describing “Israel's” occupation of Palestinian lands, forcible displacement of Palestinians, demolition of their homes, and siege of over two million people in Gaza as terrorism. According to Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, the UK government's move will not improve the climate of peace.
He also stressed the UK government is seeking to appear strong on terrorism and anti-Semitism, but the reality is that this will have a little impact where it matters. The UK government appears to be pleased with their campaign against Hamas, however, it makes no reference to “Israel's” serious violations of international law, including violations of Security Council resolutions, detention, and home demolitions.
Notably, UK’s Interior Minister Priti Patel was forced to resign as Britain's international development secretary in 2017 after failing to disclose meetings with senior Israeli officials during a private visit to the country. During her visit, she met then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-opposition leader Yair Lapid (Fara, 2021).
Most importantly, the Palestinian groups have also expressed solidarity with Hamas and released a statement saying that "the Palestinian people and their political and national forces are unified in rejecting and condemning" Britain's campaign against Hamas. While we, the Palestinians, are disturbed by the UK government's actions, we are not shocked. It's just another example of the inexplicable, harsh policy toward the Palestinian people. Earlier this month was the 104th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, in which then-British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour promised the Zionist organization that he would do all in his power to establish a Jewish state on Palestinian land.
Indeed, the British colonialists kept through on their word. They grabbed control of Palestine, paving the way for rapid Zionist colonization. Palestinians were ruthlessly evicted from their homeland, oppressed, ethnically cleansed, and killed throughout the following decades and to this day to make way for the Zionist colony, which was unquestionably supported by Britain and other Western nations. The government's decision to designate Hamas as a “terrorist” organization comes amid a determined attempt in the United Kingdom to end support for the Palestinian cause and discredit pro-Palestinian action. The UK government's efforts to label Hamas a “terrorist” organization should be viewed in the context of “Israel's” global efforts to stifle pro-Palestinian action.
Following similar lines, the British government's decision to ban the Palestinian organization Hamas under the UK's Terrorism Act was harshly criticized by Iran's Foreign Minister. “We condemn the UK’s decision to declare the popular movement of Hamas a terrorist organization. Rights of Palestinians cannot be trampled on by distorting facts,” he said. Significantly, the sanctions on Hamas align the UK's stance on Gaza's ruling force with that of the United States and the European Union.