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New Zealand Declares Hamas As Terrorist Organization

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Being among the last Western nations to do so, New Zealand declared Hamas a “terrorist entity” on Thursday, February 29, citing the October 7 attack as the reason behind the group’s failure to distinguish its political and military wings.

The government announced a move that spells a freeze on Hamas assets in New Zealand, a ban on providing it with “material support,” and travel restrictions on “extremist” Israeli settlers who it claimed had committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank. “The organization as a whole bears responsibility for these horrific terrorist attacks,” the government said.

According to a statement released by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, the October Hamas attacks on Israel “were brutal and we have unequivocally condemned them.”  While announcing that humanitarian aid will not end, Luxon emphasized that the designation was about Hamas and “is not a reflection on the Palestinian people in Gaza and around the world. The designation does not stop New Zealand from providing humanitarian and future development assistance to benefit civilians in Gaza.”

Since 2010, the military branch of Hamas, Qassam Brigades, has been considered a terrorist organization by New Zealand. It has previously been hesitant to label the entire group as a terrorist organization.

Since winning the 2006 elections in Gaza, Hamas—a political organization with broad support throughout Palestine—has ruled without being subject to further polls.

At the start of the first Palestinian intifada (uprising), in late 1987, HAMAS was founded. Its origins can be traced in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, and the Palestinian territories have a strong socio-political system that supports it. According to the group’s charter, Israel should be replaced with an Islamic Palestinian state, and any agreements reached between the PLO and Israel should be rejected. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip contain the majority of HAMAS’s power.

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