The European Union has decided to keep Hamas, which has been in power in the Palestinian territory since 2007, on its blacklist of terrorist organizations despite the decision of the General Court of the EU that recommended removing the Palestinian Islamic organization from the list. Susanne Kiefer, a spokeswoman for the European Council confirmed on Twitter that “Hamas stays on list during Council’s appeal to December judgement”.
The military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, as Hamas is officially called, was blacklisted in December 2001 in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. Hamas’ political wing was blacklisted two years later. However, the EU court ruled last year that blacklisting was based on conclusions derived from the media rather than on sound legal judgements.
Hamas spokesperson, Fawzi Barhum, denounced the EU decision saying that it contradicts the court’s ruling while describing Israel as a country that “is unjust and wrong to our people and legitimate resistance, and also encourages the occupation to continue its crimes”. Mr Barhum added that Hamas “rejects this decision and calls for its review, and to remove all forms of injustice against our people and Hamas”. Since December last year, Hamas’ funds in the EU have been frozen.
Since July last year, when the EU’s latest blacklist was published, two other groupings have been withdrawn – the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and Al-Takfir and Al-Hijra. The former was accused by Washington of funnelling money to Hamas. The EU commented that the relevant Member States that originally blacklisted these organizations have “changed their minds”. The EU blacklist still includes groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, Kurdish rebel group Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Colombia’s FARC and Peru’s Shining Path.