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December 17, 2014 1:42 pm

Doubts Emerge Over EU Court’s Justification for Annulment of Hamas Terror Designation

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Palestinian children compelled to participate in a Hamas military parade. Photo: Twitter

The decision of the European Union General Court to annul the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization has raised concerns that the Palestinian Islamist group will exploit any legal ambiguities over its present status to rebuild its organizational and fundraising network within Europe.

“The EU needs to clarify what the hell is going on,” Jonathan Schanzer, Vice-President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on Hamas, declared in an interview with The Algemeiner.

While the EU has emphasized that the decision was based on procedural considerations, with its spokesperson adding that “it does not imply any assessment by the Court of the substantive reasons for the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization,” the vexed question of what will happen in the event that an appeal is not lodged within the next three months – a temporary period during which, the court said, the measures against Hamas will remain in place – is still to be satisfactorily answered.

“I don’t have a lot of faith that the redesignation process will happen quickly,” Schanzer said. “It’s not as if the EU-Israel relationship is particularly warm.”

Hamas’s so-called military wing, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, was first designated by the Council of the European Union in December 2001, with the designation of the entire organization following two years later. That erroneous “bifurcation” between its military and political wings is a source of worry to Schanzer, who questioned whether the General Court’s decision will prompt EU lawmakers “to refer back to this distinction” – a move that could potentially legitimize Hamas’s political, if not its military, activities in the eyes of EU.

The EU General Court asserted that its decision was based on a precedent established last October, when the LTTE, a terrorist organization based within the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, had its designation similarly reversed on the grounds of procedure. Just as in the current Hamas case, in the case of the LTTE, the EU said the annulment on the basis of procedure did not automatically mean that the “substantive” issue of designating the Tamil group as a terrorist organization would be revised.

As the Washington Insitute for Near East Policy’s Matthew Levitt pointed out in a briefing published yesterday, the current debate hinges “on the technical question of what may be considered as evidence to underscore an EU designation.”

The EU’s Common Position 931, which outlines specific measures to combat terrorism, requires, Levitt wrote, “information to come from ‘a competent authority.’ In the case of the LTTE, the court determined that that designation was based on information from Indian authorities as a ‘third state outside the EU.’ The court determined further that some of the information was ‘derived from the press and the internet,’ and that the Council did not carry out sufficient checks in determining ‘competent authority.'”

According to the court’s own account of its deliberations, similar reasoning was applied to Hamas. A legitimate designation would be based “on elements which have been concretely examined and confirmed in decisions of national competent authorities within the meaning of the Common Position,” the court said, something which apparently excludes evidence provided by non-EU members like the US and Israel, as well as material gleaned from the press and the internet.

The question of what constitutes a “competent authority” is an “odd one in general, and especially in the context of Hamas, given that CP 931 lays out its standards rather clearly,” Levitt said. CP 931 specifies that “a competent authority is a judicial authority or, where judicial authorities have no competence in the area, an equivalent competent authority.”

Wrote Levitt: “In this case, Israel and the United States reportedly provided information based on their respective designations of Hamas and evidence from criminal court cases within their jurisdictions. Moreover, information underpinning the Hamas designation likely came from at least one EU government, Britain, which banned the group’s Qassam Brigades on its own in March 2001.”

Nonetheless, Levitt expressed confidence that the Hamas’s terrorist designation would be reinstated. “A plethora of Hamas criminal cases have been opened within EU member states over the past few years, providing plentiful information derived from strictly European sources regarding the group’s terrorist nature,” he wrote. “Indeed, EU authorities have been working closely with Israel to counter the burgeoning Hamas fundraising network that has been taking root in Europe despite the EU ban. Those investigations should now serve as the basis for a renewed terrorist designation of Hamas.”

However, just as the LTTE hailed the General Court’s decision as a “milestone achievement,” so, likely, will Hamas. The coming days and weeks, Schanzer said, will provide an opportunity for Hamas “to debunk and destroy the designation.”

“There’s also the question of whether Hamas will use this opportunity to organize and move funds in ways that may have been illegal,” Schanzer warned.

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  • michael

    the reason the west is in the position of power is because this freedom that all muslims want was fought for ,millions died for our freedom. why then has the liberal agenda “hug a terrorist” brigade been allowed to override all the values that have been fought for in wars since man walked the earth,they must surely know that history will repeat itself with ww111,and will we all say “if it weren’t for the west we would all be talking arabic”,but only after millions have lost there lives again.wake up…

  • Dear Friends,
    Maybe next year the Hamas organization will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize!
    Why not?!

    Five years ago, the President Obama knew and said in Cairo University (June 4, 2009) the following:
    “…And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious ‘tolerance’ and ‘racial equality’. (Applause.)

    “…And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against ‘negative stereotypes of Islam’ wherever they appear.” (Applause.)

    • Baba

      What a joke! Obama is intent on leading us down the path to a Muslim caliphate in the US. This man is evil and has no interest in the American people per say; he just wants the Muslim Brotherhood, who has also been designated a terrorist group, to take over our land. Obama is committing treason and getting away with it.

      Hamas’ leader just made a statement that any so-called Palestinian who doesn’t go out and kill the Israelis will not be allowed to live in Palestine. If that is not a terrorist statement, what is?

      • It’s clear that the American Administration is giving Israel only TWO alternatives:
        1 – To surrender to the Sunnis of Hamas, a branch of the future Islamic State, or
        2 – To surrender to the Shiites of Iran.

        We all hope that the Government of Israel will save the State of Israel.

      • Sonia Willats

        Yes, and the 14000+++ rockets, and terror tunnels, make the IRA look like choir boys. And the use of human shields.

        So it’s all hot air at the end of the day. Though the World knows, it doesn’t care. They’re happy for Hamas to terrorize the Jewish state.

        It will come to their own doorsteps.

  • Lynne T

    Mind-boggling considering the discovery of how many miles of infiltration tunnels built into Israel out of “humanitarian cement”, and the actual attempts to launch attacks earlier this year, but hardly surprising of the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil about the Palestinians” mentality of many EU members.

  • Efram

    I sometimes wonder what the EU would do if there were no Israel, G-d forbid. It would no longer have a reason to exist! It could just wait for radical Islam to totally take over the continent, cheering it all the way. The same with the UN. With no Israel to obsess about, G-d forbid, what would it do with all that time on its hands?

    • bea green JP BA

      I see radical Islam as being in the equivalent of the Middle Ages of the Christian era.
      OF COURSE they want to convert us all.

      I have no idea how Islam will work out historically. But it’s all right, Efram.
      They won’t wipe the Jews off the map. Hitler tried and failed. I know…. I escaped!


  • If Hamas’s openly declared character,is not enough proof,that its a terrorist organisation,then it’s involuntary children army or the horrific statements of refugees from Gaza should be.

    • Sonia Willats

      Yes. And shame on each individual Prime Minister and Foreign Minister who allows the battering of the Jewish State for defending herself; whilst turning a blind eye and ear to the clear and spoken desire to wipe-out the Jewish State (not only re-take the Temple Mt and East Jerusalem)etc. Their motives are not hidden, their rantings declare what they are. The way they hang their oponents, and shoot them…

      The EU can been seen, by its fruits, to be a tool in the hands of Evil. The same goes for the UN HCR. What a farce!!!!

  • Robert Davis

    Considering eu’s DESTRUCTIVE policy in particulat towards Israel,it will always choose the worse position and the worse decisions to destroy Israel and the West in general! eu delenda est! As long as eu will not be destroyed it will do its worse in every field and will probably destroy europe even if the right wing parties take over those governments soon because the havoc caused by lefters and their governments is so deep and very difficult to reverse.In fact this is what those lefter governments included ebolabama wanted.

  • Guy

    Israel had the option of destroying Hamas – They never carried through and now it is going to bite Israel in the back. The same said about Iran. So – Now it appears to be legit to bomb and terrorize Civilians and you will not be called a Terrorist, rather a Rebel or freedom fighter – isn’t this World confused?
    I will give Hamas one credit, their propaganda was a thousand times better than the Israelis and they have gained the sympathy of World Countries that have no understanding what they are doing.
    The first time in my life I question, Is there a God? Why would he allow this against his chosen?
    Perhaps God has abandoned me

    • Sonia Willats

      No, He has not abandoned you. Jerusalem will not be trampled again by the not-so-gentle gentiles. Read and believe! Do not despair, Guy. At a time of great suffering Messiah will come and He will defend His people. Read Isa 11, Tehilim 2, Ezekiel etc. etc. Micah…. Joel. Read and believe. It will be as it was on the first Passover. The world will know the one true G=d.

  • steven L

    The EU is doing its best to undermine itself! Great.

  • Herb Grossman

    The alleged basis for the court’s decision is pure nonsense. There is no factual dispute as to Hamas’s aims and methodology, as there may have been in the Sri Lanka case. Hamas openly embraces its genocidal goal in its Charter and openly boasts of its slaughters and attempted slaughters of civilians. There is no need for a “competent authority” to tell the court what Hamas already tells them or to state a self-evident conclusion. The decision was based purely on antisemitism, not on legal or procedural considerations.

    • Sonia Willats

      Exactly. The EU shows, by its fruits, what it is. It will be powerful and do evil, but it will ultimately fail and fall.

  • Western democracy is always used by Muslim terror groups to achieve their goals,as stupid politicians ,who runs these countries enable to understand the Islam and what it well as what history taught so far of their religious well as religious obligations.westerners indifference to and ignorant attitude towards this Muslim terror menace will bring utmost disaster to the western civilization…in near future.make no mistakes about it.

  • Jacques Bertrand

    The leftward, anti-semitic drift of Europe , reflected in the Court’s decision , is a source of alarm . Has Europe lost both its courage and its sense of justice ?

    Just a rhetorical question , I’m afraid. We all know the answer to the question.

    • bea green JP BA

      I think it is a ‘RIGHTWARD’ drift!!

      • Sonia Willats

        I agree. It’s a circle. Ultra-left, e.g. communism, becomes pure right, with total centralisation of power, production etc.

  • Kris Kwesi Hinson

    Hamas has been a terrorist group and always will be. The annulment of doubts Emerge Over EU Court’s Justification for Annulment of Hamas Terror Designation. This is despicable and must be condemned by all peace loving institutions around the world. Honesty and truth will always win; but at what cost?

  • “The EU needs to clarify what the hell is going on,” Jonathan Schanzer, Vice-President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on Hamas, declared in an interview with The Algemeiner.

    I cannot say it better. And this is what I expect to happen:
    Nonetheless, Levitt expressed confidence that the Hamas’s terrorist designation would be reinstated. “A plethora of Hamas criminal cases have been opened within EU member states over the past few years, providing plentiful information derived from strictly European sources regarding the group’s terrorist nature,” he wrote. “Indeed, EU authorities have been working closely with Israel to counter the burgeoning Hamas fundraising network that has been taking root in Europe despite the EU ban. Those investigations should now serve as the basis for a renewed terrorist designation of Hamas.”

    Or, the EU will never see me again.

  • Julian Clovelley

    Whilst understanding concern this is hardly a kangaroo court.

    Much of the problems of the Middle East stem from a refusal of parties to act correctly within the procedural terms of legal and diplomatic process. Indeed Israeli extremists, to Government level, have themselves, from time to time displayed absolute contempt for such processes and for the entire ambit of Conventions and International Law. This is not an appropriate time to play that game – Nor is it appropriate to make judgements concerning “antisemitism” in this context

    That the European General Court should have reached a decision “on procedural grounds” is understandable, and should be seen in the light of the reality that the matter will likely now proceed to appeal in the superior court, which being the Court of Justice of the European Union. One would have thought that Article256 (2) of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union might be applicable:

    “2. The General Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine actions or proceedings brought against decisions of the specialised courts.

    Decisions given by the General Court under this paragraph may exceptionally be subject to review by the Court of Justice, under the conditions and within the limits laid down by the Statute, where there is a serious risk of the unity or consistency of Union law being affected.”

    The claim that only matters of law may be appealed is incorrect.

    It is neither a positive nor a negative judgement of any party that legal procedure be properly followed. In all such matters coming before a Court the opportunity is offered to bring disputes of a violent practical nature into the realm of negotiation, discussion, and law

    This is very difficult when any party constantly reverts to blank refusal – whatever legal judgement, and in whatever forum, may be made against it – on the basis of “Nevertheless”, claiming some superior right that over-rides law. In the case of the Middle East the entire area is riddled with pseudo histories and religious claims that are in absolute conflict with each other, and can never be fairly evaluated against each other, but only relegated to the realm of mythology, and not evidence of anything other than a “connection” with the territory in question.

    Peace and reconciliation can never succeed until this vital principle is grasped – “connection” is not “Right”. I am rather reminded of how this was illustrated by an Australian Lawyer in Court many years ago. When asked by the Bench if the Defendant, who was of Aboriginal descent, had any connection with the area – the Lawyer for the Defense replied “I understand that his family has had connections with the area for Forty Thousand Years”

    Let the law take its course.

  • Bella

    Bibi was so very wrong when he said that Europe has learned nothing from the Holocaust.

    The same European attitudes that have prevailed more or less throughout Europe for centuries are in fine shape and they are grabbing the opportunity to use a surrogate. They have learned that this time they can get someone else to do what they have been happy to do repeatedly in the past.

    But history always repeats itself and the crocodile, as Winston Churchill said, will eat them too… which is neither consolation to us or of any concern to us. The problem is to save us… which is proving increasingly difficult.

  • Eugene Levich

    In response to the current idiotic European love affair with Islamic terrorism, I’ve decided to start my own boycott of European exports and am switching from Scotch and Irish whiskey to Canadian Rye and American Bourbon. The loss to Europe of my personnel whiskey purchases should prove to be a serious blow to the EU balance of payments.

  • Linda Rivera

    The evil EU are despicable and evil. Their wicked decision is proof that they are as dangerous as Hamas terrorist savages.

  • dante

    there may be a legitimate procedural reason for the re-designation or the proposed re-designation. on substantive grounds, there can be no doubt about the essential identity of the “political” and “military” leadership of hamas (about as tight as the relation of the s.s. and the nazi government) and there can be no doubt about the substantive issue, i.e., the terroristic nature of hamas. with respect to the latter, the leadership of hamas has declared war on the Jewish people, has proudly admitted responsibility for attacks on civilians, and advocates, encourages, commits and rewards savage attacks on civilians. only a hateful bigot or a moron could claim for hamas a status which it does not claim for itself. hamas admits all the foregoing but, yes, it would dispute whether that constitutes terrorism. only fools will be drawn into that idiotic discussion.

  • DrJLDneurology

    The Europeans have not learned anything from man’s inhumanity to man in their own recent history. They have not learned a things since Munich of the hateful violence and evil of the Muslim terrorists.

    They still live in the heyday of the far-Left, and their own evil Jew-hating past. They are pickers of who gets human rights and who dies.

    Gloriosky, the found the Jews to be very useful again. All they need do is to commit suicide for the sake of whatever Europe deems to be Humanity.

    They have never offered to protect Israeli security absolutely if they bare their throats to protect Europe.

    I only pray that the Muslims do the very worst things they can think of (and that’s pretty horrible) to the Europeans. No one likes a coward, and everyone wants to kill them as they have no human dignity aT ALL.

    I don’ think that there should be NATO any longer. The Europeans will never help protect America again and they have no will to defend themselves.

    We should abandon them to their fate with their fake currency, their fake unity, their fake leaders, and their hates for certain peoples on this earth. It’s time the world watched them be destroyed instead of the other way around.

  • noellsq

    EU is amazing that they could even think of this. Islam is a peaceful religion and noe gets their heads cut off. No rockets sent to Israel.

    • What can you expect from the European countries that welcomed them with open arms, believing the Muslims when they said we come in peace and seek political asylum. Now look what they have brought upon themselves. They infiltrate, take over areas of cities and towns. That is when all hell breaks loose. The Muslims demands to rule themselves by their sharia law. They over run people and businesses, to the point where police are afrai to go into those parts of town.

      Asking the dumb ass French how they feel about them now after welcoming them with open arms. At some point the French will ask for the USA to help to solve their problem. This will be the third time we bail the “frogs” out. This time, though, I hope we stick the correct red, white and blue flag (the one with stars and stripes on it) and France a territory of the USA.

      The world should listen to what the Australian gov’t told them. You want to come here that’s fine but you have to assimilate to our culture and our laws. You want your own rules and laws, stay where you are and don’t bother coming to Australia.