“Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as well as terrorist training facilities,” Patel said in a statement. Patel also said the move was “based upon a wide range of intelligence, information and also links to terrorism.”
“The severity of that speaks for itself,” she said, calling Hamas “fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic.”
The military wing of Hamas has been outlawed in the U.K. since 2001 but the organization as a whole was not proscribed until now. Hamas will now be banned under the UK’s Terrorism Act. Anyone expressing support for Hamas, flying its flag, or arranging meetings for the organization would be in breach of the law.
Patel is expected to present the change to parliament for a vote next week.
Hamas, predictably, reacted angrily to the move, with political official Sami Abu Zuhri saying Britain’s announcement showed “absolute bias toward the Israeli occupation and is a submission to Israeli blackmail and dictations.”
“Resisting occupation by all available means, including armed resistance, is a right granted to people under occupation as stated by the international law,” Hamas wrote in a separate statement.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the decision, writing on Twitter, “Hamas is a terrorist organization, simply put. The ‘political arm’ enables its military activity.”