Call for removal of Hamas’ Political wing from the UK’s Proscribed List of Terrorist Bodies
[This petition is supported by Tony Greenstein, anti-Zionist campaigner]
As bombs rain on Gaza, we need an urgent public debate about whether Hamas are terrorists or freedom fighters. If the latter then they deserve life, not death. It is essential to point out that they do not want to kill all Jews; their 2017 makes clear that their conflict is with the Zionist project, not with the Jews because of their religion. Whilst their aim is to reverse the occupation of Palestine which has been going on for 75 years, their policies have been revised several times since they were formed, most recently in 2017, when they agreed to a truce if Israel were to withdraw to the 1967 borders. Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus. They may seek the dismantling of Israel, but that does not mean the death of Israelis. This is outlined in Hamas “A Document of General Principles and Policies” in May 2017, which is at https://palwatch.org/storage/documents/hamas%20new%20policy%20document%20010517.pdf
The UK Gov justifies the bombing campaign of Gaza on account of the Qassam Brigades' attacks of Oct 7th - but Hamas' designation as a terrorist body undermines its status as the democratically elected government of Palestine. The Oct 7th attack has been misreported: see www.redressonline.com/2023/11/israel-revises-7-october-death-toll-of-1400-israelis-dead-to-1200-plus-200-palestinian-fighters-without-declaring-that-most-deaths-were-at-hands-of-israel . Hamas is fighting for equal rights for its people and is obliged, like any government, to defend its people. Even former Labour Leader Tony Blair said in 2017 that “We were wrong to boycott Hamas after its election win.”
We British negotiated with Sinn Fein and that resulted in peace in Northern Ireland, at the same time as we were condemning their military wing, the Provisional IRA. When the IRA bombed Birmingham and Manchester, did our UK Government send the RAF and British Army to level Londonderry? Palestine is no different. And if we exclude a political partner, we cannot hope for peace. The British Government should consider returning to its position before 2021, when only the Qassam Brigades were banned.
On Tuesday 5th December at 10am will will deliver this open letter to to 10 Downing Street as an interim submission and notify the media. Please note names on this petition will NOT be shared with the Home Secretary without your express written permission. All we shall do is provide her with the total numbers who have signed. However, we will use your email address to provide you with any updates or media coverage this campaign receives. And after the 5th, we'll continue collecting signatures.
This petition is promoted by Pete Gregson, chair of One Democratic Palestine; more at www.onepalestine.land/hamas
See Pete promote this petition on Youtube www.youtu.be/LdieTTTvsVE
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and Instagram www.instagram.com/p/Cy5jxWPOSYK/
Dear Home Secretary,
We, the undersigned, are calling for the removal of the Hamas political wing from the Proscribed list. Whilst the military wing was proscribed by Blair’s Government of 2001, the political wing was only proscribed by your predecessor Priti Patel two years ago, following her secret meetings whilst on holiday in Israel. It was passed in parliament without a vote.
Section 4 of the Terrorism Act 2000 provides “that the organisation or any person affected by a proscription can submit a signed, written application to the Home Secretary requesting that they consider whether a specified organisation should be removed from the list of proscribed organisations”. We are all affected by the Hamas proscription, so our signature on this letter cannot be used against us.
With the ongoing destruction and slaughter in Gaza, we think now is the time to re-open communications with the political wing, as they are the democratically elected leaders of the Gaza people. Britain regards the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel as contrary to international law, yet by proscribing Hamas, we exclude those who are suffering from conversations about resolution. Because we created Israel, the responsibility to resolve the occupation falls squarely upon us.
International law guarantees Palestinians the right to resist occupation, including armed resistance- a course which Hamas follows, but few western governments acknowledge. United Nations resolution 37/43 of 1982, “reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”
The resolution’s preamble makes clear that it refers specifically to the rights of Palestinians: “Considering that the denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, sovereignty, independence and return to Palestine and the repeated acts of aggression by Israel against the peoples of the region constitute a serious threat to international peace and security.”
Under international law, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is illegal, and Palestinians have a right to “armed struggle” against their illegal occupier - thus, ipso facto, Palestinians have a right to defend themselves against Israel - but Israel’s right to defend itself against Palestinian resistance is not guaranteed in the same manner.
Hamas’ most recent communiqué of 2017 underlines their commitment to abide by the democratic will of a new Palestine – one that includes their oppressors, on the understanding that they cease their Zionist aspirations. They may seek an Islamic state, but they declare they will abide with the democratic preference of a majority- in an electorate that would include those identifying as Jews. No Zionist would be forced to leave in a Palestine that was run by Hamas. Muslim lands have - and still do - welcome Jews, as “people of the book”.
Whilst Israel believes it can wipe out Hamas, we believe that translates into wiping out the Gaza people, for they elected Hamas and are closely intertwined with that body, after 75 years of occupation. In 2006 the Palestinians appointed Hamas to lead them; please note that the Palestine Authority rejects Hamas’ annual calls for fresh elections.
I declare that because our Government recently proscribed the Hamas political wing, we leave Gazans without a voice. That decision must be reversed.
The Call for removal of Hamas’ Political wing from the UK’s Proscribed List of Terrorist Bodies petition to UK Government Home Secretary was written by One Democratic Palestine and is in the category Government at GoPetition.