The General Court of the European Union has removed Hamas from their list of terrorist organisations.
But the effect of annulling the decision to name the group on the terror list are maintained temporarily, meaning that the funding freeze against the group will remain for the three months until any appeal has been heard.
Hamas appealed the Council’s Common Position back in September 2010, eight years after its military wing the Izz a-Din al-Qassam was banned by the EU’s Council of Ministers.
But after a series of suicide bombings in 2003, the organisations’s social and political divisions were included which meant all of their funds, economic resources and property rights were frozen.
Hamas put to the court that there had been a ‘manifest error of assessment, as Hamas is a legitimately elected government and…cannot be placed on a list of terrorists’.
And the court ruled that the Council made ‘procedural errors’ when it maintained Hamas on the list, basing its decision on media and internet reports rather than formal statistics and actual recordings of events. The decision today therefore annulled the inclusion of Hamas as a terrorist organisation but the suspension of the effects of that annulment gives the council time to decide what to do.
If the Council does nothing then in three months Hamas will be removed from the list permanently, meaning it will have full access to any monies, financial assets and the right to act in any commercial way it wishes so long as they comply with existing laws.
But this time period is long enough for the Council to adopt a new decision if it wished to do so.
Given the number of countries in the EU who are recognising Palestine as an independent state and the pro Palestinian movement within the European Parliament, there may be a reticence by some leaders, particularly on the left, to challenge the latest decision.
If the Council appeals this decision to the EU Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union, then the annulment will only take effect once that appeal is closed. Currently this takes around 16-18 months.
A spokesman for the General Court told Breitbart London:
“The Court has made quite clear in its judgment and in the press release that it is not ruling on whether Hamas is a terrorist organisation. The reason for the annulment is procedural, hence the 3 month period for the Council to correct that error if it so wishes.”
The decision was condemned by Conservative MEP Charles Tannock.
“This is a wrong decision.” he said. “It is plainly inappropriate given Hamas’s long track record of supporting suicide bombers, the reported use of human shields, child combatants, extrajudicial executions and rocket attacks on innocent civilians. I do not believe the decision is safe either.”