JERUSALEM, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Britain will proscribe Palestinian militant group Hamas as a terrorist organization, its interior ministry said on Friday, a move that would bring its position on Gaza’s rulers in line with the United States and EU.
The organization would be banned under the Terrorism Act and that anyone expressing support for Hamas, flying its flag or arranging meetings for the organization would be in breach of the law, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper which the ministry said was accurate.
Until now, Britain has banned only Hamas’s military wing — the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
A Hamas official in Gaza said it would wait until an official announcement from Britain before issuing a response.
The most recent outbreak of violence was an 11-day conflict in May, in which Palestinian officials say 250 people were killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza, including 66 children. Israeli officials say 13 people, including two children, were killed in Israel by militant rockets.
Interior minister Patel was forced to resign as Britain’s international development secretary in 2017 after she failed to disclose meetings with senior Israeli officials during a private holiday to the country.
She met with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bennett’s predecessor, and then-opposition leader Yair Lapid.
Lapid, now Israel’s foreign minister, hailed the expected decision on Hamas as “part of strengthening ties with Britain.”
Israel and the United States regard all of Hamas as a terrorist organisation. It is on the U.S. list of designated foreign terrorist organisations. The European Union also deems it a terrorist movement.
Based in Gaza, Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, defeating its nationalist rival Fatah. It seized military control of Gaza the following year.