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Why has the U.N. not designated Hamas as a terrorist group?


At a COMSURE AML training session yesterday, I [Mathew Beale] was asked why the U.N. has not designated Hamas as a terrorist group. A couple of reasons came to my mind as follows.

So, to answer the question, we looked at the current situation.

  • Hamas is a militant and political group that operates in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It has carried out attacks on Israel, such as suicide bombings, rocket fire and hostage-taking. It also provides social services for people in Gaza, such as education and health care.
  • Countries and organisations have different views on whether Hamas is a terrorist organisation.
    • The U.S., the U.K., the E.U., Canada and many others have designated Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
    • Some countries, such as New Zealand, only consider Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, a terrorist group.
    • Russia has also not designated Hamas as a terrorist organisation, saying it is still analysing the situation.

So why the U.N. has not designated Hamas as a terrorist group?

  1. The Hamas is a political party that won elections in Gaza in 20061. The U.N. recognises the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and does not want to interfere with their democratic process.
  2. Another reason is that the U.N. Security Council, responsible for making such decisions, has yet to reach a consensus.
  3. The Security Council consists of 15 members, five of which are permanent and have veto power: China, France, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. Any of these countries can block a resolution that would designate Hamas as a terrorist group.

Some supporting sources


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