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02 November 2022

Parliamentary committee seeks expert advice on 'terror' classification

A report co-authored by a King’s academic helped inform the work of a parliamentary committee’s review into the listing of Hamas as a terrorist organisation.


Professor Jeroen Gunning and colleagues submitted evidence to the Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security which highlighted the potential humanitarian impacts of the government’s decision to list Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organisation.

The Australian government had previously limited the terrorist classification to Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, a paramilitary wing of the organisation in Gaza, but decided last year to extend the classification to encompass the whole of Hamas.

As part of a review into the decision, Prof Gunning, from King’s College London’s Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, and colleagues submitted a report which raised concerns about the potential impact of the broadened listing on charitable organisations, Gazans, Palestinian diaspora, and on the overall peace process in the region.

In the report, which references the submission extensively, the committee noted: “[Prof Gunning and colleagues] were likewise concerned that the listing may leave humanitarian and aid organisations open to charges of supporting terrorism, adding that such accusations ‘do not have to be founded to cause significant costs and disruption’ in the form of audits and court processes.”

In its comments on the decision, the committee, made up of MPs and senators, acknowledged “that there were a range of genuinely held concerns raised” relating to the listing of Hamas in its entirety and that these were carefully considered.

The committee recommended that the impacts of the listing be carefully monitored and re-examined after a year for its effects on ‘humanitarian aid, and non-violent civic engagement with Hamas in its role as the governing authority in Gaza’, and that support and guidance be offered to groups who engage in civilian and humanitarian activities in Gaza to ensure they do not fall foul of the law.

Lead author on the report was Dr Tristan Dunning, from the University of Queensland.


You can read the report in full here.

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Jeroen Gunning

Professor of Middle Eastern Politics and Conflict Studies