Top EU Court Keeps Hamas on EU Terror List

BRUSSELS (AP) -
Hamas supporters take part in a rally marking the anniversary of the death of its leaders in Gaza City in 2014. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem, File)

The European Union’s top court ruled Wednesday that the Hamas terror group should stay on the EU terror list, saying a lower court should not have ordered the group removed from the EU’s terror list and sending the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.

The EU originally listed Hamas as a terror group in 2001, a move that froze assets of the organization in the European Union. However, the decision was annulled on procedural grounds by an EU court in 2014.

The EU appealed, and Wednesday’s ruling by the European Union Court of Justice said that the 2014 annulment was wrong and must now be reconsidered, taking into account arguments not ruled upon in the original decision. However, it added that Hamas funds will continue to be frozen pending the outcome of the reconsideration.

Neither Hamas nor Israel had an immediate reaction.

In May, Hamas issued a new policy document in a bid to rebrand itself with softer positions. In the new document, Hamas said it accepts a Palestinian state alongside Israel, a departure from the founding charter which envisioned that state in place of a defeated Israel.

At the same time, Hamas also upheld its right of armed resistance against the “Israeli occupation,” noting that its fight is against occupation, not Jews.