New Zealand Designates Hamas As Terrorist Group, Sanctions “Extremist Israelis”

Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand on Thursday became one of the last Western countries to designate all of Hamas as a “terrorist entity”, saying the attacks of October 7 had shattered the notion its political and military wings could be separated.

“The organisation as a whole bears responsibility for these horrific terrorist attacks,” the government said, announcing a move that spells a freeze on Hamas assets in New Zealand and a ban on providing it with “material support”.

“The terrorist attacks by Hamas in October 2023 were brutal and we have unequivocally condemned them,” New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said in a statement.

Luxon stressed the designation was about Hamas “and is not a reflection on the Palestinian people in Gaza and around the world” while indicating humanitarian support would continue.

“The designation does not stop New Zealand providing humanitarian and future development assistance to benefit civilians in Gaza.”

New Zealand had designated the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas as a terrorist entity since 2010.

But it has been reluctant to follow other Western nations in designating the entire group — which is also a political party and has enjoyed widespread Palestinian support.

Hamas won elections in Gaza in 2006 and has ruled without fresh polls ever since.

Some New Zealand political figures have argued that Hamas’ “terrorist” designation should be matched by a similar designation of the Israel Defense Forces over its months-long Gaza bombing campaign that has killed almost 30,000 people, according to Hamas-controlled authorities in the territory.

Such a move is highly unlikely, but New Zealand on Thursday also announced sanctions on about a dozen “extremist Israeli settlers” accused of violence against Palestinians.

“We are imposing travel bans on a number of people known to have committed violent acts. These individuals will not be able to travel to New Zealand,” said Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

The individuals were not named publicly.

(This story has been published from a syndicated feed.)