December 10, 2023

The Australian Government, led by Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Penny Wong, has taken strong action in response to the Hamas terror attacks on October 7, 2023. This involves imposing counter-terrorism financing sanctions on eight individuals and one entity associated with Hamas, targeting members, operatives, and financial facilitators, including a currency exchange owner.

Historical context of sanctions

These sanctions build upon Australia’s history of action against Hamas, starting in 2001 with initial sanctions against the group. Since then, sanctions have extended to six more entities and three persons linked to Hamas. The Australian Government affirmed, “Sanctioning and publicly listing these additional eight persons and one entity for terrorism financing demonstrates that they are actively engaged in the support and facilitation of terrorism.”]The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) welcomed this decision, with its Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein stating, “We welcome this action and see it as a first step.”

AIJAC’s response comes after urging the Australian Government to align with the United Kingdom and the United States in sanctioning Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad under Australia’s autonomous sanctions framework.

In addition to the sanctions, AIJAC has pressed for further action against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Rubenstein emphasized, “Ultimately, both of these organisations [Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad] are financed, armed and controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.” He argues for the listing of IRGC as a terrorist organization under Australia’s Criminal Code, following a Senate Committee’s recommendation in February.

Highlighting the severity of the situation, Rubenstein added, “Hamas is a genocidal terrorist movement…and its role in the attacks should have been condemned by the world.” He also pointed out the humanitarian crisis, stating, “They are still holding 240 hostages – which include women, babies and the elderly.”