The European Union Council has appealed to reverse a decision by the European Court of Human Rights to remove Hamas from the EU terror organization blacklist.
The European Union (EU) Council announced Monday that it will attempt to return Hamas to its list of terror organizations, reversing its decision from December.
The list is legally binding and prohibits EU members from maintaining ties with Hamas.
The European Court of Human Rights, which initially removed Hamas from the list, explained that the decision hinges on a technicality, as the submission of Hamas’ name to the list in 2003 was not done in accordance with protocol.
“(The EU) Council has decided to appeal the judgment regarding Hamas remaining on the EU terrorist list,” EU spokeswoman Susanne Kiefer said on Twitter.
“This ruling was clearly based on procedural grounds and did not imply any assessment by the court of the merits of designating the Hamas as a terrorist organization,” Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stated on Monday.
The ministers have “now decided to challenge some of the findings of the court regarding the procedural grounds to list terrorist organizations,” she added. “The fight against terrorism remains a priority for the European Union. In this sense, the EU is determined to stem the financing of terrorism, for which EU autonomous measures are an essential tool.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly condemned the move after it was announced in December, stating: “We are not satisfied with the European Union’s explanation that the removal of Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations is a ‘technical matter.’ The burden of proof is on the European Union and we expect it to put Hamas back on the list forthwith given that it is understood by all that Hamas – a murderous terrorist organization, the covenant of which specifies the destruction of Israel as its goal – is an inseparable part of this list. We will continue to fight Hamas with strength and determination so that it never achieves this goal.”
Hamas embraced the EU’s decision at the time, but responded vehemently after it learned that the decision is to be contested. “The European Union’s insistence on keeping Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations is an immoral step, and reflects the EU’s total bias in favor of the Israeli occupation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP on Monday.