Fury as EU court removes Hamas from terror list


The "technical" decision of the European Union's General Court to remove Hamas from the EU's list of terror organisations has drawn an indignant response from Israeli leaders, despite senior EU officials insisting the step is temporary.

The court accepted the argument of lawyers representing Hamas that an organisation can only be listed as a terror group on the basis of official EU sources and not other information sources.

The court emphasised that the ruling was not on Hamas's actual nature or status and that it would not be implemented for three months. This ensures that Hamas assets in Europe will remain frozen while the EU appeals against the ruling and puts the Islamist movement back on the "terror list".

Israeli officials initially briefed the media that the EU court's decision was purely "technical" and did not signal a policy change, but politicians rushed to attack it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel did not accept the EU explanation that the removal of Hamas was a "technical" decision. "It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing," he said.

Economics Minister Naftali Bennett described the ruling as akin to "the rules of Sodom" and that it "evinces moral bankruptcy".

The EU's ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, met Foreign Ministry director-general Nissim Ben-Sheetrit to assure him that the EU's policy toward Hamas remained unchanged. The intention was to reclassify Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

In the UK, the Foreign Office released a statement saying the UK "will work to ensure listing of Hamas is maintained in the EU... the judgement is procedural and does not mean the EU and UK have changed their position on Hamas."

Nevertheless, the ruling sparked a furious reaction from Jewish organisations around the world. World Jewish Congress head Ronald Lauder said: "Irrespective of the legal aspects involved here, this ruling sends a terrible signal… it gives Hamas a huge moral victory and will strengthen it vis-à-vis moderate forces in the Palestinian territories."

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive