After four years of appeals, the European Union General Court has ordered that Hamas, the Palestinian Authority’s militant organization, be removed from the EU’s blacklist of terror organizations.
The court’s decision, based on a legal technicality, came within days of Hamas’ 27th birthday celebration, during which it vowed to destroy Israel.
According to Reuters:
However, in its ruling, the bloc’s second highest tribunal said member states could maintain their freeze on Hamas’s assets for three months to give time for further review or for an appeal to be launched.
The EU’s foreign policy arm said the bloc continued to view Hamas as a terrorist group.
“This was a legal ruling of the court based on procedural grounds. We will look into this and decide on appropriate remedial action,” spokeswoman Maja Kocijanic said.
Israel was quick to respond to the ruling. RT’s Paula Slier tweeted:
#Israeli politicians across the political spectrum have unanimously condemned this 'temporary' removal.
— Paula Slier (@PaulaSlier_RT) December 17, 2014
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the EU to keep Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations.
“It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing. But we in Israel, we’ve learned,” Netanyahu said. “We expect them to immediately put Hamas back on the list. Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization which in its charter states its goal is to destroy Israel.”
Yet another was deeply offended by the court’s move.
“The Europeans must believe that their blood is more sacred than the blood of the Jews, which they see as unimportant,” Danny Danon, a deputy from Israel’s Likud party said, according to RT. “That is the only way to explain the EU court’s decision to remove Hamas from the terror blacklist. In Europe, they must have forgotten that Hamas kidnapped three boys and fired thousands of rockets last summer at Israeli citizens.”
Although technical in nature, Hamas was elated by Wednesday’s ruling.
“The decision is a correction of a historical mistake the European Union had made,” Deputy Hamas chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said. “Hamas is a resistance movement and it has a natural right according to all international laws and standards to resist the occupation.”
Hamas, as well as the Palestinian Authority, has repeatedly refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and has steadfastly called for its destruction.