The Organization of American States (OAS) announced last May 17 that it has designated Palestinian militant group Hamas as a terrorist organization.
“The recent attacks launched by Hamas against the Israeli civilian population undoubtedly constitute attacks of a terrorist nature. Their violence and the objectives they pursue clearly have this characteristic,” the group consisting of 35 independent countries of the Americas said in a statement.
According to the statement, Hamas “seeks to escalate conflict dynamics and armed actions” and to sow “terror among innocent populations, be they Israeli or Palestinian.”
OAS also stated that Hamas “deserves the most absolute repudiation and condemnation” for using children and women as human shields and for militarizing residential areas.
“Hamas attacks constitute an attack against the peace and security of Israel and the region and make it imperative to categorize it Hamas as a terrorist organization,” OAS stated.
The move is largely symbolic, but it may pave the way for actions against fundraising efforts to Hamas and for other countries to label it as an terrorist organization.
Countries that have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization include Israel, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
The American Jewish Committee commended OAS for the move and for “setting an example for all the nations of the Americas.”
Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, launched long-range rockets toward Jerusalem after Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, injuring hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of police officers last May 10. Violence between Israel and Palestine has escalated since then, prompting several countries to call for a ceasefire.
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