In a letter to the United Nations, several United States senators this week pressed for the international body to designate the Hamas organization of Palestine as a terrorist organization following terrorist attacks on Israel in October that left hundreds dead, others kidnapped, and kicked off a brutal reprisal.
With the designation, the more than 30 senator-signatories, led by U.S. Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), hope to see the UN enact sanctions on the organization to match. In the United States, Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization since 1997 and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) since 2001.
“Recent events have demonstrated that Hamas’ actions, tactics, and stated goals are in many ways indistinguishable from Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations the United Nations has sanctioned. Therefore, we write to urge you to bring a resolution to the UN Security Council recognizing and imposing sanctions on Hamas as a terrorist organization,” the senators wrote to Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the United Nations.
On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas launched attacks across the Israeli-imposed border in southern Israel, murdering more than 1,400 people and wounding approximately 4,500 others. In the process, the organization also kidnapped several hundred people. In response, Israel swore to eradicate Hamas and launched an invasion of the Gaza Strip, killing more than 10,000 people in the days since, according to figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas.
While the UN has roundly condemned the Hamas attacks that led to the current state of affairs, it has also sparred with Israel repeatedly over its subsequent actions. Still, U.S. support has been unwavering, and the senators writing this week kept the focus firmly on Hamas.
“Hamas’ reign of terror is not just an Israeli problem, but one that impacts us all,” the senators wrote.
Hamas has also been designated a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Paraguay, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, among others. The senators claimed the lack of UN sanctions, however, allows Hamas to exploit international financial channels to bolster its own capabilities, and asserted that it can divert humanitarian aid for malicious intent, pointing to taxes on humanitarian consignments, seizures of portions of donated goods and the pilfering of donated supplies.