Jerusalem applauded the European Union’s decision Monday to appeal a decision by the EU’s Court of Justice to take Hamas off its list of terrorist organizations, saying this reflects the position that Hamas was and remains a terrorist organization.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a statement saying that the decision by the court taking Hamas off the terrorist list and freeing up its frozen funds in Europe “was clearly based on procedural grounds and did not imply any assessment by the court of the merits of designating Hamas as a terrorist organization.”
Mogherini said that the decision will be appealed on procedural grounds.
“As a result of the appeal, the effects of the judgment are suspended until a final judgment is rendered by the Court of Justice,” she said.
Diplomatic officials said that the European Union did not need any prodding or urging by Israel to appeal the decision. Israel is believed to have provided the Europeans with material to better make their case.
The court last month annulled the bloc’s 2003 decision to keep Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations, but temporarily maintained the freeze of its funds for a period of three months, or until an appeal was registered.
The court said that the evidence provided to place the organization on the list did not meet EU standards of evidence, and was based on media and Internet reports.
Israel was furious when the decision was handed down, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the time saying it was an example of “staggering” European “hypocrisy.”
Hamas, he said at the time, “has committed countless war crimes and countless terror acts. It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing. But we in Israel, we’ve learned. We’ll continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in December that to take Hamas off the list for “technical reasons” at a time when terrorism was on the rise throughout the world, and not only in the Middle East, was a “wrong decision” that sent exactly the wrong message.
Some three weeks after the decision, Islamist terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery in Paris.
Hamas said in response that the insistence on keeping it on the list of terror groups is “undemocratic, immoral and a sign of bias in favor of Israel.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the move would “provide a cover to Israel to continue with its crimes” against Palestinians.