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Netanyahu: Too Many in Europe Have Learned Nothing From Holocaust

Israeli PM responds to European court’s decision to take Hamas off terror list on technicality

i24news–Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday slammed what he called “European hypocrisy” regarding the European Union’s decisions to remove Hamas from a terror blacklist as well as its vote in favor of recognizing Palestine.

“In Luxembourg the European court removed Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him as saying. “It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing.”

The European Parliament overwhelmingly adopted a compromise resolution Wednesday supporting Palestinian statehood in principle.

The motion that was carried by a vote of 498 against 88, with 111 abstentions, stated: “The European Parliament supports in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced.”

Social Democrat, left-wing and Green members of the European Parliament had initially sought a symbolic vote calling on the EU’s 28 members to recognize Palestine, now without conditions.

Also on Wednesday, the EU said it still considers Hamas to be a “terrorist” group even though a European court ruled that it should be removed from the bloc’s terrorism blacklist.”The EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organization,” European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said, adding that the EU would consider its response to the court’s ruling, including the possibility of an appeal.

The European Court of Justice ruled that Hamas would be removed from the EU terror blacklist, accepting an appeal filed by Hamas. However the court also ruled that measures against the group would remain in force for three months to allow an appeal of the decision or the group’s reinstatement.

The court accepted the appeal on the grounds that the process to declare Hamas as a terror organization did not include sufficient legal evidence to brand Hamas a terror organization. But it stressed that Wednesday’s decision to remove Hamas was based on technical grounds and does “not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group.”

The 2001 listing of Hamas was based not on sound legal judgments but on “factual imputations derived from the press and the Internet,” the General Court of the European Union said in a statement.

According to Israel’s Channel 10 news, EU regulations stipulate material used to designate a terror group must be provided from within the EU, whereas the original listing was made on the basis of information provided by the US. Due to this, the EU removed the group from its list temporarily until the necessary paperwork is processed. Channel 10 stated that Israeli officials, including Netanyahu and Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman, were aware of the process.

Netanyahu said the EU should “immediately reinstate Hamas to the terror list,” adding that “Israel is not satisfied with the explanations regarding a ‘technicality issue. The burden of proof is on the EU.”

Netanyahu also said “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization which states in its charter that its goal is to destroy Israel.”

The World Jewish Congress also slammed the EU’s decision regarding Hamas, saying it sends a “terrible signal” and “gives Hamas a huge moral victory and will strengthen it vis-?-vis moderate forces in the Palestinian territories.”

A senior Hamas official, Izzat al-Rishq, tweeted that the court decision is “a legal victory for Palestinian rights.” According to the Twitter post, the decision rights an injustice done to the Hamas movement, “which is a national liberation movement.”

UK vows to ensure Hamas listing remains

Following the EU court’s decision, the British government issued a statement, vowing that it would ensure the “Hamas listing at the EU is maintained.”

“Today’s EU General Court judgment is procedural and does not mean the EU and UK have changed their position on Hamas,” a statement from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) read. “The effects of the EU Hamas listing, including asset freezes, remain in place.”

“Hamas’ military wing has been proscribed in the UK since 2001 under separate UK legislation. It is not affected by today’s EU General Court judgment,” the statement read. Some European countries have already begun collecting intelligence information that could be useful in building a strong case against the group, according to the Ynetwebsite.

A senior Hamas official meanwhile revealed that the Islamist group has patched up ties with Iran, according to a Reuters report. “I believe that bilateral relations between us and the Islamic Republic of Iran are back on track,” Palestinian senior Hamas member Moussa Abu Marzouk was quoted as saying. Abu Marzouk added that the group was not looking to reignite another war with Israel and was focusing its energies instead on rebuilding the Gaza Strip.

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