Government designates all Hamas as terrorist entity, travel bans 'extremist Israeli settlers'

As the war in Gaza rages on, the New Zealand Government has designated all of Hamas as a terrorist entity and placed travel bans on a number of extremist Israeli settlers.   


On Thursday, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters designated Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist entity.  

"The terrorist attacks by Hamas in October 2023 were brutal and we have unequivocally condemned them," Luxon said.   

In the wake of the October 7 incursion into Israel by Hamas, which led to the deaths of about 1200 people, then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for advice on whether the political wing of Hamas should be declared a terrorist group.    

The military wing of Hamas – the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades - was designated as a terrorist entity in 2010 by the previous National Government. All other Five Eyes countries, like the United States and Australia, have previously declared Hamas in its entirety a terrorist group.  

Peters said the October 7 attacks show "we can no longer distinguish between the military and political wings of Hamas. The organisation as a whole bears responsibility for these horrific terrorist attacks".  

The designation means any Hamas assets in New Zealand are frozen and it also makes it a criminal offence to carry out property or financial transactions with them or provide material support.  

Luxon made clear the actions of Hamas are not a reflection of the Palestinian people.  

Last year, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson suggested that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) should also be subject to a terrorist assessment, arguing in a debate that it had caused "decades of violence".    

Israeli Settlers  

Alongside the Hamas announcement, the Government has also placed travel bans on "a number of extremist Israeli settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank".  

Luxon said New Zealand was concerned about the escalation in violence "perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinian populations in recent months".  

The US, UK and France are amongst other countries to make similar moves against Israeli settler violence in the occupied West Bank in recent months.   

"New Zealand has taken this step to signal clearly that this behaviour is unacceptable", Peters said.

An unspecified number of individuals who have committed violent acts are hereby banned from travelling to New Zealand.   

"New Zealand’s consistent position has been that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are a violation of international law," Peters said.   

"Settlements undermine the prospects for a viable two-state solution. Recent statements by some Israeli ministers about plans for further settlement construction are of serious concern and will raise tensions further between Israelis and Palestinians."  

Last week, Israel announced a plan to add thousands more homes to settlements in the occupied West Bank, prompting the Biden administration to declare them "inconsistent" with international law, sources and U.S. officials familiar with the move told Reuters.