With the procedural decision by the General Court of the European Union to annul the 2001 inclusion of Hamas on the EU list of terrorist organizations,1 the Hamas terror organization responded, describing the move as a stunning victory for Hamas in Europe. “This is a victory for the Palestinian question and for the rights of our people,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told the press.2 “We thank the European court for this positive decision which must be followed by international steps to lift the oppression of the Palestinian people,” Barhum continued.
The Court decision should not be seen as proof of the legitimacy of Hamas and its actions, nor as ultimate recognition by Europe of the organization’s status.
Such a deception would clearly be part of the general policy of the Palestinian leadership to cynically manipulate and mislead the European governments, media and general public and thereby attempt to generate European approval, a green light and even impunity for Hamas terrorist activities.
However, as clearly indicated by the Court, this decision is nothing more than an internal, procedural issue within the EU, and makes no substantive change in the designation of Hamas and the freezing of its funds by the EU.
As stated by the court’s decision:
“The Court stresses that those annulments, on fundamental procedural grounds, do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group within the meaning of the Common Position.”
The reasoning behind this procedural decision is based on the fact that the initial 2001 designation by the EU of Hamas as a terrorist organization was allegedly based only on media and internet reports and not, as required by the EU procedures, on “elements which have been concretely examined and confirmed in decisions of national competent authorities.”
Hence, the Court has decided to maintain the freezing of Hamas funds for a period of three months pending completion of the appropriate procedures by the competent national authorities within the EU in order to endorse their designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization.
One may assume that those competent authorities will indeed take the requisite measures to ensure that the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization will take into consideration the clear evidence that exists regarding the terrorist nature, motivation and activities of Hamas, including such activities as:
- The bombardment of Israeli civilian towns and villages by more than 4,000 rockets;
- The use of their own civilians, including families, homes, children, schools, hospitals and mosques as shields for rocket emplacement and terror headquarters;
- Initiation and celebration of the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli youths prior to the hostilities in Gaza;
- The terrorist attack on worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue and subsequent celebrations.
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