Palestinians Condemn U.K.'s Decision to Designate Hamas as a Terror Group

'Instead of apologizing to the Palestinian people for the Balfour Declaration or British imperialism, the U.K. aligns itself with the Israeli occupation,' Hamas also said in a statement

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, England, in October.
Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, England, in October. Credit: AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

The Palestinian Foreign Affairs Ministry slammed the U.K.'s decision to classify Hamas as a terror group on Saturday, calling it "a continuation of the inexplicable, aggressive policy toward the Palestinian people."

The ministry urged the British government to not succumb to Israeli pressures: "Britain's stance toward Israel only piles obstacles ahead of any opportunity to reach a peace settlement."

Hamas also issued a statement condemning the decision on Friday, saying it proves the U.K. is biased towards Israel. "Instead of apologizing to the Palestinian people for the Balfour Declaration or British imperialism, it aligns itself with the Israeli occupation," the statement read.

"Resisting occupation by any means is the right of any people under occupation." the statement continued, "Israel is the one acting like a terror state, hurting and attacking Palestinians. The international community, especially Britain and the UN, must stop sending mixed messages and speak out against Israel's blatant violation of international law."

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said the British decision was "meaningless," and would not impact the organization's activities. He added that Hamas' resistance to Israeli occupation is anchored in international law. "The legitimacy of Hamas stems from the Palestinian people and from forces that aspire to liberty and freedom across the world," he also said.

The Palestinian Embassy to the United Kingdom denounced the move as well, describing it as "a retrograde step that will make peace-making harder and diminish the UK’s role."

In its statement, it said that the U.K. government has "complicated Palestinian unity efforts and undermined Palestinian democracy" and a that it will "do nothing for efforts to secure a peaceful two-state outcome, an outcome that is being undermined every day by Israeli war crimes, including its illegal colonial settlement project in occupied territory.”

The statements come in light of the U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel's decision on Friday to designate Hamas as a terror organization.

The proscription under the Terrorism Act will mean that any expression of support for Hamas, flying their flag, or holding a meeting for the organization could face up to 10 years in jail.

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had asked his counterpart Boris Johnson to take the step at the Glasgow climate summit.

The ban, however, still requires approval from parliament.

The U.K. had already dubbed Hamas' military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, are a terror group, but will join the U.S. and the European Union and Canada in the step.

“Hamas is fundamentally and rabidly antisemitic. Antisemitism is an enduring evil which I will never tolerate. Jewish people routinely feel unsafe – at school, in the streets, when they worship, in their homes, and online," Patel told reporters in Washington.

In response to the U.K.'s decision, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted, "Hamas is a terrorist organization, simple as that. Its 'political arm' enables its military activity. They are the same terrorists, only they wear suits.

Thank you and with much appreciation to my friend Boris Johnson for his leadership on the subject."

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