Palestinians protest at US designation of Hamas leader as terrorist

A number of Palestinian groups expressed dismay at the decision of the US Department of State to designate politburo chief of Hamas movement Ismail Haniyeh as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).

The designations, announced earlier Wednesday by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, also include the Iranian-backed Harakat al-Sabireen, and Liwa al Thawra and Harakat Sawa’d Misr (HASM), of Egypt.

Responding to the decision, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the decision is totally unacceptable and unjustifiable since Haniyeh is not only chief of the politburo of Hamas but a democratically elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and former prime minister as well.

“The US move signals a serious precedent and blatant violation of the international laws that entitle the Palestinian people the right to defend themselves, resist the (Israeli) occupation and elect their leaders,” Barhoum said in a press release.

“The move provides a new evidence of the US full bias in favor of the Israeli occupation authorities and covers up for their crimes against the Palestinian people. “It encourages Israel to target the iconic leaders of the Palestinian people,” he stressed, noting that the timing of the decision shows that the US administration is aware that Hamas spearhead opposition to the so-called US “deal of the century” aiming to undermine the Palestine question.

Meanwhile, Kaed Al-Ghol, member of the politburo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said the US decision signals a clearly hostile attitude towards the Palestinian people.

“The Palestinians have no option other than ending their divisions and standing united against this move as per the resolutions of the Palestinian Central Council,” he told reporters.

On his part, spokesman of the Islamic Jihad movement Dawood Shihab said the US designation of Haniyeh was part of the continued US targeting of the Palestinian people and attempts to undermine their legitimate rights.

The US decision constitutes a new crime committed by the US administration against the Palestinian people, said Talal Abu-Tharifa, politburo member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP).

It aims to cover up on the real terrorism being committed by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people, he added.

The previous SDGTs designations made by the US include Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad movement Dr. Ramadan Shallah and Zyad Al-Nakhalah respectively, as well as three Hamas leaders – Yahya Al-Sinwar, Rouhi Moshtaha and Mohammad Al-Dhaif.

Source: Kuwait News Agency