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[WATCH] UK’s Priti Patel Pushes for Hamas to be Declared a Terrorist Group

Nov 22, 2021

Umm Muhammed Umar

Radio Islam asked Britain-based Palestinian academic and activist, Dr Azzam Al-Tamimi, why the UK was planning to outlaw Palestine’s Hamas group.

Dr Azzam said that the United Kingdom found the environment locally and globally appropriate for something like this to be done. He added that such a move was unthinkable until recently. He said, “I regret to say that this environment has been created by an increasing number of Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, then followed by Sudan, Morocco and Bahrain, to normalize relations with Israel, and it is this lobby that has joined hands with the Zionist lobby itself, to pressure the UK government into criminalizing anybody who expresses support or sympathy for Hamas.” He said that this unfortunate decision by the British government would eventually deprive the British government of any leverage in contributing in any positive way to resolving the conflict in the region.

The European Union, the United States and Canada have already designated Hamas as a terrorist group. It is currently difficult to deduce what the implications of the push by the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, might be. Dr Azzam says that soon after Patel announced her desire to bring the draft law to the to the British parliament, several outlets belonging to the to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, both in Arabic and English, began to incite the British government against certain individuals and institutions within the UK, hailing the decision as a landmark. Dr Azzam said that they had even asked the British government to strip certain Palestinians of their British Nationality. He said, “we’ve seen leaks suggesting that the law intended by the Home Secretary to be presented to Parliament on Wednesday, might include an item or an article that grants the British government the mandate and authority to strip any individual deemed to be a threat to British security or to British interests, of their nationality.” Dr Azzam said that while the repercussions could be can be enormous, if the British legal system stood in resistance to such a move, it would probably not materialize into much.

Priti Patel is well known to have Zionist inclinations. She has befriended senior officials in Israel. In 2017, she visited Israel on what she claimed was a family holiday. Her visit was widely viewed as scandalous as she went to the Golan Heights, where she met, on a dozen occasions, with Israeli officials while she was the International Development Secretary. The meetings were undisclosed. Dr Azzam said, “She seemed to promise the Israelis to crack down on support for Palestinians, for Palestinian developmental projects, whether in Gaza or in the West Bank, and she was sacked because of that, at the time.” Now, under Boris Johnson, Patel seems to have been empowered. He said, “And [she is] probably driven by a very powerful lobby from the lobby of Israel, as well as the lobby of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, she has taken this daring step.”

Hamas, meanwhile, has denounced the move. However, there is very little the group can do to prevent it. According to Dr Azzam, Hamas has very little to lose, nevertheless, as it has no offices, no institutions, and no representatives or operations in the UK.  He said that a good number of people saw Hamas as a legitimate organization and supported it because it represented a majority of Palestinians as shown by various elections and polls. However, apart from that, according to Dr Azzam, there is really nothing Hamas stands to lose in the UK.  He said, “It is the UK government, that will lose as a result of such animosity, as a result of such hostility toward a Palestinian faction that enjoys the support of the majority of the Palestinians, both within Palestine, as well as in the diaspora.”

Dr Azzam says Hamas was never funded by the UK, or even by any of the charities in the UK, because the charities in the UK are well monitored, and abide by the rules of the Charity Commission. However, he added, “But of course, the Zionist lobby and some of its Arab supporters, again, I regret to say, have been trying to conflate certain charitable projects within Palestine with Hamas.” Dr Azzam said that Hamas actually spends its own money on charitable causes. He said, “There are 2 million Palestinians under siege in Gaza. A large proportion of them are under poverty line. Many of their young men and women are unemployed. So, there is a huge need for help from the international community.” He said that the same applied to refugee camps in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. He said that if aid was to be withheld to all these people in need, because of suspicion or accusations that they had anything to do with Hamas, that would only augment their suffering.

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