Former Cabinet Minister Theresa Villiers MP has welcomed the decision by the UK Government declare the so-called 'political wing' of Hamas a terrorist organisation after she asked the Home Secretary to consider the move.
Priti Patel announced in Washington DC she will proscribe Hamas as a terrorist group in its entirety under the Terrorism Act. She confirmed the UK “can no longer disaggregate” the group’s 'military' and 'political' wings.
Theresa, who is the MP for Chipping Barnet and a former Environment and Northern Ireland Secretary, has spoken in Parliament to ask the Government to make this change. She also wrote to the Home Secretary to urge the move.
“This an important and welcome announcement by the UK Government that closes the door on what has always been a false distinction between Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades, and the group’s political arm,” she said.
“Hamas in all its forms is a violent antisemitic terrorist organisation and it is a threat to Jewish communities all over the world, including in the UK.
“This move by the British Government means its approach has been brought into line with Israel, the United States, Canada, the European Union and Jordan – all of which have proscribed both the two branches of Hamas.
The Home Secretary said in her announcement that: “Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as well as terrorist training facilities, and it has long been involved in significant terrorist violence.
“Hamas commits, participates, prepares for and promotes and encourages terrorism. If we tolerate extremism, it will erode the rock of security.”
Proscribing a group means that flying its flag or holding meetings in aid are against the law. Offenders face up to 14 years in jail. There are 78 terrorist groups which are proscribed in the UK.