New Zealand Designates Hamas as Terrorists, Sanctions ‘Extremist’ Settlers

By Yoni Weiss

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

New Zealand on Thursday officially listed the entire Palestinian Islamist group Hamas as a terrorist entity and imposed travel bans on “extremist” Israeli settlers involved in violent attacks against Palestinians in Yehudah and Shomron. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon clarified that the designation is focused on the actions of an offshore terrorist entity and is not a reflection on the Palestinian people. New Zealand had previously designated the military wing of Hamas as a terrorist entity in 2010.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters cited Hamas’s responsibility for the brutal Oct. 7 terror attacks, making it challenging for the government to distinguish between the group’s military and political wings. The decision criminalizes property or financial transactions with Hamas, freezes its assets in New Zealand, and prohibits providing material support. However, humanitarian assistance for civilians in Gaza and consular support for New Zealand citizens in the conflict zone remain unaffected.

On the other hand, Luxon expressed serious concern about the significant increase in extremist violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, considering it particularly destabilizing amid the existing crisis. New Zealand maintains its consistent stance that Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories violate international law. The government continues to support a future Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution and urges an end to the current conflict, advocating for the urgent restart of the Middle East peace process.

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