The European Union’s decision to label Hamas a terrorist organization was flawed, according to a ruling by the bloc’s second highest court Wednesday.
The General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg found the EU’s 2001 decision to list Hamas as a terrorist organization was based on media reports, not expert testimony, and has ruled that the Palestinian group ought to be removed from the list.
Hamas is a Palestinian political group that effectively administers the besieged Gaza Strip. The group has welcomed the ruling, stating it corrected a “historical mistake.”
“Hamas is a resistance movement and it has a natural right according to all international laws and standards to resist the occupation,” Hamas’ second in command, Moussa Abu Marzouk, stated.
Under Wednesday’s ruling, the organization’s assets in EU nations could remain frozen for another three months, while the bloc’s foreign policy body has stated it still views Hamas as a terrorist group.
“This was a legal ruling of the court based on procedural grounds. We will look into this and decide on appropriate remedial action,” a foreign policy spokesperson stated.
The United States and Israel have condemned the ruling. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the court’s decision as “European prejudice.”
“In Geneva, they are calling for an investigation against Israel for war crimes, while in Luxembourg the European court removed Hamas from the terrorist list. It looks like there are too many people in Europe, on the ground where six million Jews were slaughtered, who haven't learned a thing,” he stated, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Palestinians have also launched a renewed bid for statehood at the United Nations.