Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS
Hamas' militants during an anti-Israel rally in the streets of Gaza City following the ceasefire after 11 days of fighting between Hamas and Israel. Gaza, May 22, 2021.

The Australian government announced Wednesday that it has defined the Hamas organization, including its political arm, as a terrorist organization. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, was already proscribed in Australia, and now the organization in its entirety will be defined as a terror organization.

However, the real severe blow now hitting Hamas is Turkey’s intention to expel Hamas military operatives from its territory, according to a report by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. Turkey has informed Hamas that its military operatives must leave the country and the military assistance to Hamas from Turkey will be stopped, but it will allow Hamas’ political activity.

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The newspaper also reported that for the past year and a half, Turkey has been examining with other countries in the region the possibility that Hamas will transfer the location of its military headquarters to another country.

The article in the Turkish newspaper comes against the background of what appears to be a thawing in the relations between Israel and Turkey and a rapprochement between the two countries. Next month, President Isaac Herzog is expected to visit Turkey and meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At the same time, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that the normalization of relations with Israel would not come at the expense of the Palestinians and that Turkey would not change its policy or turn its back on them.

Turkish officials recently reported that intelligence agents had thwarted an Iranian plot to assassinate a Turkish-Israeli businessman named Yair Geller, who lives in Istanbul. The reports claimed that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) had uncovered a network of nine Iranians who acted as a hit squad to avenge the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was the head of the Iranian nuclear program and was reportedly killed by Israel.

The move by Turkey is another blow to Hamas after last November Britain decided to declare Hamas, it’s military and political arms, a terrorist entity. It should be noted that dozens of Hamas terrorists released in the Shalit deal have been stationed in Turkey and that part of Hamas’ military development system, known as the “Construction Directorate” is located in the country, while the rest has been moved to Lebanon in recent years.

Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades are proscribed as a terrorist organization by the governments of the United Kingdom, Japan, and New Zealand. Hamas, including the Brigades, has been proscribed as a terrorist organization by the US and Canada. Hamas is also listed by the European Union for the purposes of its anti-terrorism financing measures. The organization is banned in Jordan.

Hamas is also included in the DFAT Consolidated List that refers to United Nationals Council Resolution 1373 in relation to countering financing of terrorism.

Russia, Norway, and Switzerland view the organization’s military arm as legitimate. Hamas leaders have visited Russia in recent months and met with the Russian foreign minister

The move on the part of Turkey will lead to the isolation of Hamas, which recently decided to turn to the Iranian axis, following an internal dispute.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.