Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong at a press conference
Penny Wong says Australia continues to unequivocally condemn the attacks on Israel by Hamas. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
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Further sanctions against Middle East terror groups

Andrew Brown January 23, 2024

The federal government has slapped sanctions on three entities and 12 people with links to proscribed terrorist organisations Hamas, Hizbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad following attacks in the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the sanctions were imposed on leaders of Hamas, financial facilitators and people who provided training to terrorist operatives.

Sanctions were placed on three organisations that transferred funds to Hamas.

“This is concurrent with further sanctions imposed on Hamas-linked targets by the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union,” Senator Wong told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

A Palestinian Hamas supporter (file)
 Sanctions have been placed on three organisations that transferred funds to Hamas. Image by AP PHOTO 

The new measures come on top of previous sanctions against 17 people and seven entities with links to the terrorist organisations.

Under the sanctions, people providing money to the listed individuals or groups, as well as dealing with them or their assets, can face 10 years in prison and significant fines.

“Australia continues to unequivocally condemn the attacks on Israel by Hamas as abhorrent acts of terror against innocent civilians,” Senator Wong said.

The sanctions were imposed following violence in the Gaza Strip after attacks by Hamas against Israel on October 7.

More than 1200 Israelis were killed and 240 taken hostage, according to Tel Aviv officials.

In response, Israel’s bombardment, blockade and ground invasion of Gaza has killed more than 24,000 Palestinians, put half the territory’s 2.3 million residents at risk of starvation and left more than 60 per cent without homes, according to local health officials and the UN.

Relatives and supporters of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza
 Israel’s prime minister has rejected a Hamas proposal to end the Gaza war and release hostages. Image by AP PHOTO 

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said the coalition welcomed the sanctions, but they should have been enacted sooner.

“It would be fanciful for the Albanese Labor government to believe they can pat themselves on the back for these sanctions imposed which could have been done weeks ago,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Australia must not only be working in lockstep with our allies, but should be leading the way to assist in the dismantling of Hamas through the mechanisms we have available.”

The sanctions come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a proposal by Hamas for an end to the war in Gaza and release hostages.

Senator Wong, who recently returned from a week-long trip to the region, reaffirmed calls for an independent Palestinian state.

“Any pathway to peace requires progress towards an independent Palestinian state and that is the best way to ensure peace and security and dignity for the Palestinian people and also the region,” she said.