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Why sanctions against Hamas, already considered a terrorist group? | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas, shakes hands hand of a masked fighter from Hamas's Qassam Brigades. (Archive photo)

  • Rania Massoud (View profile)Rania Massoud

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly announced Tuesday that Canada is now imposing economic sanctions against leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip due to their involvement in the bloody attack against Israel on October 7.

Under these sanctions, imposed under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA), Ottawa will limit Hamas' ability to raise and use funds to carry out further attacks against Israel.

People in Canada and Canadians abroad are prohibited from carrying out transactions with people on the list, Global Affairs Canada announced in a press release. In addition, sanctioned individuals are inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

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The head of Canadian diplomacy, Mélanie Joly, arrives at the weekly meeting of Justin Trudeau's cabinet on Tuesday, the day Global Affairs Canada announces sanctions against members of Hamas.

Among the Hamas members sanctioned, we find the name of the group's leader, Yahya Sinwar, as well as that of its military leader, Mohammed Deif.

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This is the first time that Canada has imposed individual sanctions against non-state actors, the press release further specifies.

But according to terrorism expert and former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) analyst Jessica Davis, the measures announced Tuesday are just window dressing.

Islamic Jihad and Hamas are already entities classified as terrorists under Canadian law… which means that [their members] are already targeted by sanctions.

A quote from former Canadian Security Intelligence Service analyst Jessica Davis onHamas and Islamic Jihad have been on the list of terrorist entities in Canada since November 27, 2002. Since 1990, Hamas has committed terrorist attacks against both civilian and military targets, we can read on the Security website Public Service of Canada. Islamic Jihad is described as being one of the first [groups] to have resorted to suicide attacks against Israel.

Contacted by Radio -Canada, Ms. Davis explains that the new sanctions are redundant with the bans already in place, while recalling that members of these two groups are already banned from entering the country and that their assets must be seized under the Criminal Code Canadian.

According to the terrorism expert, the announcement of new sanctions against Hamas and Islamic Jihad could serve as a basis for new announcements targeting extremist Israeli settlers, accused of violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

It is possible that the sanctions [against Hamas and Islamic Jihad] are intended to illustrate a certain proportionality before sanctioning extremist settlers.

A quote from Jessica Davis, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service analyst

Minister Joly announced at the weekend that Canada intends to impose sanctions against these settlers over the coming weeks.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said settler violence in the West Bank is absolutely unacceptable and jeopardizes peace and stability in the region.

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A man shows a photo of an armed Israeli settler, in the village of As-Sawiyah in the occupied West Bank, November 29, 2023.

These statements comes following a decision by the United States to impose sanctions against four settlers, accused of attacks or acts of terrorism against Palestinians, or even gestures that undermine peace, stability and security in the territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

Sanctioned settlers are now banned from entering the United States and their assets will be frozen. In early December, the United States had already announced visa restrictions against extremist Israeli settlers.

The old CSIS analysis states that one of the main problems for Canada will be implementing these sanctions: We are good at adding names to lists but we are not very good at to enforce our regulations and laws regarding sanctions, she writes on her x27;We have had only three convictions for financing terrorism and one conviction for financial facilitation since the adoption of the anti-terrorism law in 2001.

We are even weaker when it comes to enforcing sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act, Davis continued, explaining that the RCMP, which is responsible for implementing them, is under-resourced.

At the time of publishing this article, Global Affairs Canada had still not responded to our requests for clarification regarding the announced sanctions.

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