UK to designate Hamas as terror group, make support illegal

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to call Hamas “fundamentally and rabidly antisemitic.” Bennett and Lapid praised the move.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The United Kingdom is set to officially declare Hamas as a terror group, which would make supporting the group a criminal offense punishable by years in prison.

According to a statement released Friday morning, UK. Home Secretary Priti Patel will make a public statement on the designation during an event later in the day in Washington D.C.

Hamas’ military wing has been banned in the UK since 2001, so Friday’s move will extend the designation to the terror group’s political arm.

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,” Patel said in a statement released by the U.K. Embassy in Israel.

“But the current listing of Hamas creates an artificial distinction between various parts of the organization – it is right that the listing is updated to reflect this. This is an important step, especially for the Jewish community. If we tolerate extremism, it will erode the rock of security.”

In an excerpt of her speech included in the statement, Patel called Hamas “fundamentally and rabidly antisemitic.”

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“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.”

“This step will strengthen the case against anyone who waves a Hamas flag in the United Kingdom, an act that is bound to make Jewish people feel unsafe.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid thanked the UK for the expected announcement in a statement on Friday morning.

“This is an important and significant decision that gives British security bodies additional tools to prevent the continued buildup of the Hamas terror organization, including in Britain,” Lapid said.

“Hamas is a terror organization, plain and simple. The ‘political wing’ enables its military activity. The same terrorists — only in suits,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a tweet praising the decision.