Radical Islamist movement Hamas has been officially declared a terrorist organization by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after judges in the European Union’s most senior court ruled the group should remain on an EU-wide terror blacklist.
The EU originally imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist group, after the September 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda terror attacks on New York and Washington.
Hamas opposed the sanctions from the start, arguing that it is a legally elected government and therefore has the right to conduct military operations against Israel.
It refuses to recognize that some of Judaism’s holiest sites are located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem; the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
The EU maintains an active sanctions policy, targeting individuals, groups and states, including several other Palestinian entities, and Hamas will now be added to the list of terrorist organizations after Wednesday’s decision.
2/ The EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organisation; measures restricting its activity remain in force
— EU in Israel (@EUinIsrael) July 26, 2017
This ruling ends a long-running court battle to challenge the group’s terror designation, following a previous ruling in 2014 when a lower court annulled the 2001 designation and recommended sanctions on Hamas be lifted.
It comes just 24-hours after a Palestinian asylum seeker was found guilty in Austria of inciting others to kill Jews in Israel. As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, the 27-year old man was also was found guilty by the same six-member jury of belonging to Hamas.
The Independent reports the U.S. is among the countries globally that classify Hamas as a terrorist group, although in the UK it is not banned in its entirety.
The Home Office’s list of proscribed organisation includes its military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades, for their “aims to end Israeli occupation in Palestine and establish an Islamic State”.
AFP contributed to this report.
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