As Israel reels from the deadliest terror attack in years by Hamas, the United Nations Security Council still does not recognize or sanction Hamas as a terror group — despite multiple other nations declaring it to be so.
“The U.N. Security Council votes to impose sanctions and designations on groups like al Qaeda, the Taliban or ISIS. But no such sanctions or designations exist for Iran’s axis of terror groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah,” Richard Goldberg, senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital.
The Council, under resolutions passed in 1999, 2011 and 2015, sanctions ISIS and al Qaeda, along with associated individuals and groups. The Council’s committee on those resolutions oversees sanctions measured imposed by the council.
However, there are no such sanctions in place for Hamas and Hezbollah. The lack of sanctioning comes as Israel is pushing back against Hamas after it was hit by a surprise attack that killed more than 1,300 Israelis.
“The U.N. insists these are legitimate political movements and therefore can freely work with them,” said Goldberg, who previously served as the director for countering weapons of destruction at the White House National Security Council between 2019 and 2020.
Israeli and U.S. officials have criticized the U.N., including the Security Council — which is made up of 15 members, including permanent membership for the U.S., U.K., France, China and Russia — for allegedly having an anti-Israel bias. The U.S. under former President Trump introduced a resolution in 2018 to label Hamas as a terror group, but it received only one vote in favor – that of the United States.
Russia and its veto power often form a roadblock on the Council for any action against Iran and Iran-backed entities. The Associated Press reported this week that the U.S. demanded the Council condemn “these heinous terrorist attacks committed by Hamas,” but no immediate action was taken.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood said afterward that “a good number of countries” did condemn the atrocity but not all council members.
Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan has criticized the U.N. reaction to the attack against Israel. In a Tuesday statement, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called for both Israel Defense Forces and Hamas to “respect international humanitarian law” and defuse tensions. He also criticized Israel’s “full siege” of Gaza.
“The U.N.’s response to Israel’s early warning to the residents of Gaza is shameful,” Erdan told Fox News Digital. “For many years, the U.N. has turned a blind eye to the arming of Hamas and its use of the civilian population and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as a hiding place for its weapons and murder.”
“Now, instead of standing by Israel, whose citizens were slaughtered by Hamas terrorists and who tries to minimize harm to those not involved, it preaches to Israel. It is better for the U.N. to focus now on returning the hostages, condemning Hamas, and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.”
Goldberg, meanwhile, said that the failure of the Council to designate Hamas a terror group has knock-on effects on other agencies — including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) when vetting staff.
“There is zero requirement for UNRWA to submit its list of staff and beneficiaries for U.S. counterterrorism vetting. They use their own lists instead and wouldn’t you know it, since Hamas isn’t a U.N. terror group they magically find no evidence of support for terrorism.”
An email sent to the spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary General was not immediately returned by press time.