US puts Hamas chief Haniyeh on terror blacklist
State Department announces inclusion of head of Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh on its terror blacklist; Haniyeh threatens the stability of the Middle East, Secretary of State Tillerson says, to be levied with sanctions, asset freeze; decision 'failed attempt to pressure the resistance, will not deter us from expelling the occupation,' Hamas responds.
The United States on Wednesday put the head of the Hamas terrorist organization Ismail Haniyeh on its terror blacklist and slapped him with sanctions.
Responding to the decision, Hamas said it was "a failed attempt to pressure the resistance. This decision will not deter us from continuing the resistance option to expel the occupation."
"Ismail Haniyeh is the leader and President of the Political Bureau of Hamas, which was designated in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization," said the State Department's announcement on the matter. The decision came during especially tense times, after Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Haniyeh has "close links with Hamas' military wing and has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians. He has reportedly been involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Hamas has been responsible for an estimated 17 American lives killed in terrorist attacks."
The terrorist group's leader was threatening "the stability of the Middle East, undermining the peace process, and attacking our allies Egypt and Israel," Secretary of State Tillerson added. "Today's actions are an important step in denying the resources required to plan and carry out terrorist activities."
Haniyeh is now on the US Treasury sanctions blacklist, which freezes any US-based assets he may have and bans any US person or company from doing business with him.
The head of Hamas's political wing participated in a demonstration in Gaza last month against President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "Anyone thinking we will be satisfied with mere protests is dreaming," Haniyeh said at the protest, shortly before a rocket was launched from Gaza at the Israeli communities around it.