Hamas Kept on Terrorism Blacklist: EU's Top Court Upholds the Listing

A member of the Ezzedine al Qassam Brigades the military wing of Palestinian movement Hamas

In a statement, the General Court in 2015 explained the EU's blacklisting of Hamas had been based on "factual imputations derived from the press and the internet" rather than "acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities".

Founded in 1987, Hamas has carried out numerous terror attacks against Israeli civilians and military personnel, including shooting, stabbings, suicide bombings and rocket attacks on towns that have killed hundreds of people.

The Court of Justice said it sent the case back to the General Court for reconsideration.

The 2014 ruling noted, however, that it did not "imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group".

Tally Helfont, director of the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Programme on the Middle East, said that Hamas has not taken any actions that would warrant its removal from the European Union terrorism blacklist. But the ECJ said such decisions were not required for groups to stay on the list, only for their initial listing.

Accordingly, the ECJ "should annul the measures. on procedural grounds", Sharpston said.


But he added that "exchanges of information such as PNR are critical for the security of our citizens, and the European commission will do what is necessary to ensure they can continue in accordance with the court's opinion and in full respect of fundamental rights".

The court's ruling maintains the asset freezes and travel ban imposed on Hamas members, and prevents it from receiving funds from European NGOs.

In May, Hamas issued a new policy document in a bid to rebrand itself with softer positions.

In June, Hamas presented a new political document that accepts the formation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, without recognising the statehood of Israel, and says that the conflict in Palestine is not a religious one.

The 1967 borders refer to those that existed before the war in which Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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