Created in 1987, Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, 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 European Court of Justice (ECj), the Luxembourg-based highest EU court, upheld a decision by the EU Council maintaining Hamas, the Palestinian islamist group in Gaza, on the European list of terrorist organisations.
The decision by the court reversed a ruling in 2019 by a lower EU court that had annulled the listing for procedural reasons because signatures from the president of the EU Council and its secretary-general were missing on several annexes to the application to list Hamas as a terror group, including statements offered as evidence.
‘’The General Court should not have cancelled Hamas’ listing on the ground that the Council had fadailed to authenticate by means of a signature the statements of individual reasons for those acts,’’ the ECJ ruled this week.
In 2018, the EU Council had decided to maintain Hamas on the EU terror list which comprises 21 groups.
Hamas had been listed as an organisation involved in terrorist acts and was, on that basis, subject to measures freezing its funds and economic resources, the ECJ stated.
The court ruling came days after a Hamas gunman killed a 25-year-old Israeli, Eliyahu Kay, and wounded three others in a terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Created 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 group is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and it has been firm and explicit in its rejection of any peace process and the recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
The central aim of Hamas is to establish an Islamic state in all the territory defined as ‘Palestine’ (from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River) through armed struggle.
Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in a violent coup in 2006 kicking out the Palestinian Authority. Since then, they have intermittently launched thousands of rockets towards Israel.
Most recently, in a week-long conflict in May, Hamas fired over 4,000 rockets toward Israel.
The current Israeli government operates a policy of distinction that looks to empower moderate Palestinian political forces within the Palestinian Authority.