ASIO head backs Hamas terror listing

October 1, 2021 by  
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The head of Australia’s national security agency has backed listing the entirety of Palestinian group Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

Peter Wertheim at the inquiry

ASIO director-general Mike Burgess told a parliamentary inquiry he did not have an issue with the listing of all of the group.

“Yes I would support it, but I am not the decision-maker,” Mr Burgess said.

“There is a difference between Hamas and people who consider themselves Palestinian. If they support Hamas, then they would be supporting a terrorist organisation.”

Currently, only Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al‑Din al‑Qassam Brigades, is listed as a terrorist organisation.

The whole organisation was previously listed as a terror group in 2014 but was removed from the list soon after.

The inquiry was examining whether the Hamas brigades, along with four other groups, be formally re-listed as a terrorist organisation.

The director-general said Hamas’ brigades were assessed by ASIO to threaten military and civilian targets in Israel.

“As a consequence, they remain a security concern to ASIO, and we support the listing,” Mr Burgess said.

“ASIO has assessed (the brigades) as a highly capable terror organisation that are committed to using terror tactics in targeting Israel.”

The listing of all of Hamas as a terrorist organisation would mean supporters of the group would be subject to counterterrorism laws.

Mr Burgess deferred questions as to whether protesters who use pro-Palestinian chants at rallies that form a part of a Hamas doctrine would be subject to terror laws.

Earlier, speaking from the U.S., Dr Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President of Foundation for Defense of Democracies told the inquiry that within ‘the cohesive nature of Hamas, there is no separating the Hassan brigades from the broader organization. This is a fiction perpetuated by those who wish to engage with elements of the terrorist group. The fact remains that senior leaders like ei scmr The leader of Hamas and Gaza or solid Harare, the deputy of the Politburo have served in both political and military roles, and they go back and forth with ease’.

He added: “I’ve actually seen children being used as human shields and being encouraged to move to the front.”

Labor MP Mark Dreyfus responded to  Dr Schanzer: “You’ve helpfully noted in your submission that the United States has listed the whole of Hamas since 1997.  Canada, another one of our allies has listed the whole of Hamas. Since November 2002, and other organizations of states such as the Organization of American States also list the whole of Hamas and of course Israel and the European Union as well.”

Dr Schanzer added: “The Israelis discovered what is now commonly understood or referred to as a metro system of underground tunnels. Those tunnels were hundreds of miles hundreds of kilometres that snaked throughout the Gaza Strip underneath homes, hospitals apartment buildings, mosques, kindergartens, you name it. And the goal was to create a labyrinth. So, when Israeli troops came in on the ground that they would be surprised, that they would be caught, they would be kidnapped, they would be killed. This could not have been done without close coordination between the political people that run the Gaza Strip.”

He said that Hamas has no interest whatsoever in making peace and ‘in fact if you look back at its history, it really came of age in the 1990s in a campaign to disrupt the peace process with suicide bombings and other acts of violence’.

He commented:  “We’re seeing that in the Arab world there are still rejectionists like Iran, Syria, Turkey, Qatar, Malaysia. Those are countries that still see some value in trying to prop up Hamas, but they also, perhaps, other than Iran and Syria, will still engage with you in international relations with Australia whether you’ve designated Hamas in its entirety or not.”

AIJAC’s Dr Colin Rubesnstein stressed the point ‘made in our submission that it would likely assist law enforcement in this country in preventing fundraising by family in Australia if the listing was extended’.

Bren Carlill representing the Zionist Federation of Australia told the inquiry:  “The political wing of Hamas might not be directly engaged in terrorist acts, but it fosters assists prepares plans, and indeed finances, terrorism.

He quoted Fathi Hammad “There can be no peace for the Zionists. The only thing we have for design is the sword. The only thing we have for designers is the h 250 rocket is quite specific,”He said: “This is the guy who runs al-Aqsa TV which is a Hamas television station and that has a long history of explicit incitement of violence indoctrination of children into incitement of violence, etc.

The co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim compared parts of Hamas’s covenant with the Nazi manifesto.

He said: “It not only calls for the destruction of Israel as a state, but its founding charter the Hamas covenant openly advocates the killing of Jews in Article Seven, and the indiscriminate use of violence in article 13. Article 13 also repudiates negotiations or compromise of any kind. Article 28 declares that Jews control, quote, The Freemasons the rotary and Lions Clubs and other sabotage groups in the boat. And that Israel, and I quote, Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people in the quote. Much of this language would not be out of place in a Nazi manifesto.


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