Al Jazeera Net correspondents
London – In 2021, the British government announced the classification of the Islamic Resistance Movement (agitation) “A terrorist organization.” Before that, Hamas’s political wing was off the list and the matter was limited to its military wing Izz al-Din al-Qassam BrigadesWhich made anyone who declares sympathy with or affiliation with the movement face a prison sentence of up to 14 years on charges of belonging or sympathy with a “terrorist group.”
Today, this situation has become more acute with the operation “Al-Aqsa flood“, as any opinion of a British citizen who supports or defends Hamas may end up being imprisoned. This is a situation that Scottish human rights activist Pete Gregson is working to change. He is the president of the “One and Democratic Palestine” association, which defends the Palestinian cause and the rights of the Palestinian people.
In his interview with Al Jazeera Net, Gregson said that his goal in the campaign he launched was to open a media and political debate about the validity of classifying the political wing of the Hamas movement as a terrorist organization, adding that the work he is leading is difficult and complex in light of the current circumstances, but he is confident that the matter is worth the effort.
What is the nature of the campaign you are currently leading?
These days, I am leading a campaign trying to force politicians and media professionals to reopen the file of classifying Hamas as a terrorist organization. The law allows us to submit petitions to reconsider the classification of any group as a terrorist group, and the law stipulates that a group of people can submit a petition in which they say: Their lives have been damaged by this classification.
Indeed, I collected a thousand signatures in order to place a petition in Parliament to open the debate on this classification, as it takes a thousand signatures in order to open the petition, and it takes ten thousand signatures in order to put the question on the parliament’s program in order to discuss it.
Unfortunately, this petition was dropped by the Parliament website under a stupid and unacceptable justification, which is that the petition relates to a non-British organization.
What prompted you to take this step?
I am convinced that the biggest mistake that can be made is closing the door to dialogue with the political wing, and I believe that there will be no solution in Gaza without maintaining the door to dialogue with the political wing of the Hamas movement. This is because the British government, during its war on the Irish Republicans, never classified the “party.”Sinn Fein” As a “terrorist”, even though it was the political wing of the Irish Republican Army that was carrying out operations against Britain, and it was this decision that allowed negotiations with the Sinn Fein party and a peace agreement to be reached in the end.
Also, the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair He admitted in 2017 that it was a mistake to boycott Hamas after it won the elections in 2006.
Naturally, I am exposed to harassment, as supporters of the Israeli lobby report me to the police, claiming that I support and promote Hamas, but what appears is that the British police ignore these reports because they know that I am not doing anything outside the law, and that I do not call for violence or incite extremism.
What are the alternative steps after the petition is rejected by Parliament?
I opened another petition through an American website, and the site administrators promised that they would not delete the poll, and so far it has collected a thousand signatures, even though the petition has reached more than 20 thousand people. I understand the matter and know that it is difficult for some people to sign it, because they do not want to interfere. On a sensitive topic like this.
I also collected the emails of more than 8,000 local elected representatives of the Labor Party, and presented the matter to them. More than 80% of them did not respond, and some attacked me because I was thinking about the matter. This is normal, given the major changes in the positions of the Labor Party recently and the party’s absolute leadership’s support for Israel. But I succeeded in opening a discussion with some others, and I will move on to corresponding with parliamentarians as well.
I am also preparing for a presentation in front of the British Prime Minister’s headquarters attended by journalists, where I will present the evidence currently circulating accusing the Israeli army of killing civilians. My goal in all of this is first to make the British press change its narrative of what happened on the seventh of last October, as well as to open… Discussion on reviewing the decision to place Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations.