EU court annuls Hamas’ listing on terror blacklist

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A European Union court annulled Hamas’ listing as a terrorist group.

The ruling Wednesday by the  General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg was on an appeal filed by Hamas representatives against its 2001 classification as a terrorist group by the European Union and comes hours before a vote by the European Parliament on whether to support the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian statehood.

The ruling cites lacking evidence in listing Hamas as a terrorist organization in the first place but states that Hamas assets which were seized by European Union entities after its classification as a terrorist group in 2001 will remain frozen for the time being, according to a statement released by the court Wednesday.

The original listing in 2001 was based not on sound legal judgments but on conclusions derived from the media and the Internet, the court said in a statement.

The ruling, however, is based on technical issues connected to the original listing and does “not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group,” the statement further reads.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said in a statement that the ruling amounted to “legitimating murder and genocide.”

European Jews, he wrote, “who Hamas openly declares as targets for annihilation, feel less secure” as a result of the ruling. “We have reached a new low in moral relativity if an organization explicitly dedicated to the destruction of a nation and people, which actively targets and commit terrorist acts against civilians, is no longer considered a terrorist organization,” Kantor added.

Hamas’s military wing was added to the European Union’s first-ever terrorism blacklist drawn up in December 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States. The union blacklisted the political wing of Hamas in 2003.

“The General Court finds that the contested measures are based not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet,” the court said in explaining its ruling.

Instead, such an action had to be based on facts previously established by competent authorities.