Germany has announced a complete ban on the activities of the Palestinian group Hamas and ordered the disbanding of a pro-Palestine group accused of spreading anti-Israel and anti-Semitic ideas.
In a statement on Thursday, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said she implemented a formal ban on activity by or in support of Hamas, which is already designated as a “terrorist” organisation in the country.
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“With Hamas, I have today completely banned the activities of a terrorist organisation whose aim is to destroy the state of Israel,” Faeser said.
A Hamas official in Lebanon said the move showed that the country was in partnership with Israel on crimes against Palestinian people.
“This prompts us to question whether the German political mentality is a Holocaust mentality that affects all peoples and is not limited to one party or another,” Osama Hamdan, the Hamas representative in Lebanon, said in a news conference on Thursday.
Faeser said she also is banning and dissolving the German branch of the Samidoun network, which she said “supports and glorifies” groups including Hamas.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had announced that the government would take action against both groups on October 12.
Samidoun was behind an October 7 action in which a group of people handed out pastries in a Berlin street in celebration of Hamas’s attack on Israel. At least 1,400 people were killed in the attack, most of whom were civilians, according to Israeli officials.
“Holding spontaneous ‘jubilant celebrations’ here in Germany in response to Hamas’s terrible terrorist attacks against Israel demonstrates Samidoun’s antisemitic, inhuman worldview in a particularly sickening way,” Faeser said, as cited by Deutsche Welle.
Since the attack, Israel has bombarded Gaza relentlessly and tightened its blockade on the territory, cutting off supplies of fuel and severely restricting water, food and electricity access.
More than 9,000 Palestinians have been killed in the bombardment, including 3,760 children, according to authorities in Gaza.
Pro-Palestinian protests in many parts of Germany have been banned in recent weeks, and schools in Berlin have been given permission to ban the traditional Palestinian headdress, the keffiyeh.
Pro-Palestinian activists in Germany say it amounts to a crackdown on Palestinians and a curtailment of free speech.
“All instruments of assembly law must be used to prevent solidarity demonstrations with the terror of Hamas as early as possible,” a spokesperson with the German Interior Ministry previously told Al Jazeera.
Amir Ali, a Palestinian who has been involved in organising protests in Munich, told Al Jazeera that a demonstration was cancelled after years of “holding them peacefully with police cooperation”.
“I was even forbidden to walk inside the city for 24 hours because I was wearing a keffiyeh,” he said.