The UK government is on the wrong side of history… again | Hamas

On November 19, British Home Secretary Priti Patel introduced that she is in search of a terror designation for the Palestinian motion Hamas. Its army wing has already been banned in the United Kingdom, however now the government needs to increase the measure to the political get together as nicely.

If the designation is authorised by the British Parliament, this could successfully criminalise assist for the motion, together with actions akin to carrying clothes with its slogans or flying its flag. Patel claimed that the proscription order is important for shielding the UK’s Jewish group and combatting anti-Semitism.

It is well-known that Hamas has no formal actions in the UK. So it is exhausting to consider that this transfer is really meant to uproot some type of Hamas presence on British territory that one way or the other threatens the Jewish group. On the different hand, there are numerous initiatives in the UK supporting the Palestinian trigger and the Palestinian inhabitants in Gaza and there are a number of British charitable establishments working in the Strip.

What I, and plenty of Palestinians, suspect is that this is one more authorized software the British government is deploying to suppress these pro-Palestinian actions. The proscription order can simply be used to equate “support for Hamas” with “support for Gaza” or “support for Palestine”, thus criminalising peaceable activism and charity work.

Outlawing a political get together that enjoys vast assist amongst Palestinians is additionally a harmful prospect. The British government, together with different Western allies of Israel, usually attempt to painting Hamas as an alien organisation that holds the Palestinian inhabitants in Gaza “hostage”. But that is not the case.

In 2006, Hamas gained the Palestinian legislative elections, securing 74 seats in the 132-seat parliament. Had elections been held this yr, as was initially deliberate, the motion would have gained as soon as again – which is why Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, with Western and Israeli backing, postponed them indefinitely.

Thus, designating the motion a terrorist organisation means successfully labelling Palestinian voters as terrorists. While that could be precisely what Israel needs and has been striving for over the previous 20 years, it goes in opposition to any ethical and authorized norms the British government alleges to abide by.

Even Palestinians who disagree with Hamas on its ideology or governance don’t disagree with it on its anti-occupation stance. The Palestinians are virtually unanimous of their proper to withstand occupation on the foundation of worldwide legislation, which provides folks underneath army occupation the proper to withstand it in any form or type. The textual content of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 37/43 of 1982 additionally affirms that individuals underneath occupation have the proper to take up an armed wrestle for freedom, independence and self-determination.

The Palestinian folks outright reject the UK government’s actions. In a present of solidarity, Palestinian factions have additionally come out in assist of Hamas, saying in a press release: “The Palestinian people and their political and national forces are united in rejecting and condemning” the British designation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

While we, Palestinians, are outraged at the UK government’s actions, we’re by far not shocked. Earlier this month we marked the 104th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, with which then British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour promised the Zionist motion to do his utmost to ascertain a Jewish state on Palestinian land.

The British colonialists stored their promise. Several years later, they took management of Palestine and paved the means for accelerated Zionist colonisation. Over the following a long time and to this present day, Palestinians have been systematically uprooted from their lands, oppressed, ethnically cleansed and killed to make room for the Zionist colony, unreservedly supported by Britain and different Western powers.

The British government bears the historic duty for the persevering with Palestinian tragedy. But as an alternative of apologising, making an attempt to set the document straight, and providing compensation to the Palestinians, the British authorities at the moment are sending a message that they continue to be trustworthy to their colonial historical past and to suppressing anti-colonial struggles for liberation and independence.

The government order on designating Hamas a terrorist organisation comes amid a concerted effort to curb the rising assist for the Palestinian trigger inside British society and to undermine pro-Palestinian activism. The peaceable Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) motion, for instance, has additionally been a goal. In 2016, the British government issued steering to native councils forbidding them from adopting boycotts on moral grounds. It has since introduced that it’s going to flip the coverage into legislation.

The similar yr, the British government adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism, which has been broadly criticised as an try to silence critics of Israel and its occupation of Palestinian land. The pressured public equation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism has been used in opposition to quite a few British public figures who’ve spoken out in favour of Palestinian rights.

The UK government’s drive to designate Hamas as a terror organisation must also be seen inside the context of Israel’s international efforts to suppress pro-Palestinian activism. A generational change in attitudes in direction of the Israeli occupation and its struggle crimes in opposition to the Palestinians is changing into ever extra obvious. Israel is dropping floor amongst younger Westerners, who’re extra outspoken and extra mobilised of their assist of the Palestinian trigger. This was on full show in May, when solidarity marches with Gaza, amid Israel’s newest lethal assault, had been held in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France and elsewhere.

By now, Palestine has been elevated to a global concern of justice, freedom and equality. People throughout the world who assist progressive concepts embrace the Palestinian wrestle as their very own. On the different side sit regressive forces who wish to protect the (neo)colonial established order, who thrive on injustice, oppression and dispossession. They could also be highly effective in the present day however time is not on their side. History has confirmed that regimes based on injustice and subjugation don’t final.

Today, the British government stands as soon as again on the wrong side of historical past by supporting a settler-colonial apartheid regime. However, it is by no means too late to be taught from previous errors, appropriate course, and embrace justice.

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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