March 3, 2024 | Flash Brief

New Zealand Designates Hamas as a Terrorist Group

March 3, 2024 | Flash Brief

New Zealand Designates Hamas as a Terrorist Group

Latest Developments

New Zealand fully designated Hamas as a terrorist organization on February 29, having previously sanctioned only its military wing in 2010. Former New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins advised the current government to update its classification of Hamas because “what happened on 7 October reinforces we can no longer distinguish between the military and political wings of Hamas,” according to a New Zealand government press release. The designation “freezes any assets of the terrorist entity in New Zealand. It also makes it a criminal offcnce to carry out property or financial transactions with them or provide material support,” it also said.

Expert Analysis

“The international community should not view the so-called political and military wings of Hamas as distinct entities. The organization operates as one cohesive unit. Hamas members in suits, who often act as the face of the organization and raise funds that go towards the purchase of weapons and explosives, are just as responsible for terrorism as those who directly carry out attacks on innocent civilians.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

“Designating Hamas as a terrorist organization is in the national security interest of each country. It is neither a favor nor is it complicated. Countries leaders should simply ask themselves: if Hamas massacred, tortured, raped, burned alive, and mutilated thousands of your citizens, and took hundreds more hostage, would you regard them as sincere, credible partners for peace? Or would you cease to be intimidated and acknowledge them and their financial patrons — Iran in this case — as terrorist organizations? This is the time to unite around both moral clarity and self-interest.” — Toby Dershowitz, Managing Director of FDD Action

International Movement to Ban Hamas

Between 1995 and 2023, about 70 countries formally designated Hamas in whole or in part as a terrorist organization, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Israel, Paraguay, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in addition to the European Union and Organization of American States. The methods and impact of designation can differ by country. Some countries draw a distinction between the political and military wings of Hamas, considering only the latter a terrorist group. Yet Hamas is a single integrated organization with a unified leadership.

On October 11, 2023, Switzerland designated Hamas as a terrorist organization. On November 22, the Swiss government agreed to draft a federal act banning Hamas which “will provide the federal authorities with the necessary tools to counter any Hamas activities or support for the organization in Switzerland.” As of February 21, the Swiss government is developing legislation to institute a five-year ban on Hamas and “cover or successor organizations,” while combatting terrorist financing.

On November 2, 2023, Germany banned Hamas, which it already considered a terrorist organization. Germany’s ban “builds on the EU’s designation to fully restrict and criminalize support of the terrorist group,” said a U.S. Department of State press release applauding Germany’s decision. Germany also banned the Hamas-affiliated international organization Samidoun and dissolved its subsidiary, Samidoun Deutschland, because it “endorses the use of violence for achieving its political objectives and incites such violence” and “supports organisations which initiate, endorse or threaten attacks on individuals or property.”

Hamas Terror Plot Foiled in Europe,” FDD Flash Brief

Blood Money: Stopping the Cash That Underwrites Terror,” by Elaine Dezenski

Dutch Authorities Catch Hamas Financier Red-Handed,” by David May


Israel Israel at War Sanctions and Illicit Finance