(photo credit: screenshot)
The EU's External Action Service said an EU court's decision earlier in the day taking Hamas off the EU's terrorist list was a legal, not a political decision, that will likely be appealed.
“This legal ruling is clearly based on procedural grounds and it does not imply any assessment by the Court of the substantive reasons for the designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization, read the statement by the EEAS, which is led by EU foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini and is essentially the EU's foreign service.
“It is a legal ruling of a court, not a political decision taken by the EU governments. The EU continues to uphold the Quartet principles,” the statement read. The Quartet principles ban engagement with Hamas until it forswears terrorism, recognizes Israel, and accepts previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
The statement said that the EU institutions were carefully studying the ruling and “will decide on the options open to them. They will, in due course, take appropriate remedial action, including any eventual appeal to the ruling. In case of an appeal the restrictive measures remain in place.”
The statement was released soon after Jerusalem responded angrily to the decision, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying
that Israel was “not satisfied” with the explanations of the EU that Hamas's removal is only a technical matter.
According to the “technical issue” argument, Hamas was removed from the list because the evidence used to place the organization on the list did not meet European standards. Two central EU countries have already been working on a dossier providing the court with the evidence that will satisfy it.
“The burden of proof is on the EU and we expect them to immediately return Hamas to the list where everyone realizes they should be,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization whose charter says that its aim is to destroy Israel. We will continue to fight it with determination and strength so that it will never realize its aims."