EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

December 17, 2014

The EU General Court has ordered that the Palestinian militant group Hamas be removed from the bloc’s terror blacklist. The move comes over four years after Hamas appealed its terror designation before the EU.

The European Union first banned Hamas’ military wing, the Izz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in 2002, though the organization’s social and political divisions were not put on the terror list. Following a series of Hamas suicide bombings during the second intifada or uprising in September 2003, the EU extended the ban to include the organization as a whole.

On September 12, 2010, Hamas appealed the ban, largely on procedural grounds. In its complaint, the group cited a lack of due process, specifically, that it had not been properly informed the act was being implemented. It further asserted that as a “legitimately-elected government,” it cannot be labeled as a terrorist organization, saying such a designation flies in the face of “the principle of non-interference in the internal matters of a State.”

READ MORE: ‘Amnesty are victims of Hamas propaganda’ – Israeli FM spokesman

The court accepted the organization’s argument, saying that the decision to remove Hamas from the list was not based on an examination of Hamas’ activities, but rather on an examination of the procedures used to institute the 2003 ban in the first place. Unless an appeal brings closure, however, a funding freeze against the group and sanctions against its members will remain in place for three more months.

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement (Reuters / Suhaib Salem)

Palestinian members of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement (Reuters / Suhaib Salem)

The lawyer for Hamas, Liliane Glock, told AFP she was “satisfied with the decision.”

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq lauded the decision, saying the court had righted an injustice done to the organization, which he said is a “national freedom movement,” and not a terrorist organization, the Jerusalem Post reports.

But a deputy from Israel’s major right-wing Likud party, Danny Danon, said, “The Europeans must believe that there blood is more sacred than the blood of the Jews which they see as unimportant. That is the only way to explain the EU court’s decision to remove Hamas from the terror blacklist.”

“In Europe they must have forgotten that Hamas kidnapped three boys and fired thousands of rockets last summer at Israeli citizens,” he added.

Shortly after the ruling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the EU to keep Hamas on its list of terrorist organizations.

“We expect them to immediately put Hamas back on the list,” Reuters cites Netanyahu as saying in a statement. “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization which in its charter states its goal is to destroy Israel.”

The EU and Israel have attempted to downplay the ruling, saying that groups standing within Europe as terror organizations will not change. Israeli and European officials say the court will be given a few months to rebuild its file against Hamas with evidence of the group’s activities, which will enable it to be placed back on the list of terror organizations, the Israeli news portal Ynet reports.

According to RT’s Paula Slier, Israeli politicians “across the political spectrum” have unanimously condemned what they call a “temporary” removal.

Paula Slier @PaulaSlier_RT
Follow

#Israeli politicians across the political spectrum have unanimously condemned this ‘temporary’ removal.
4:36 AM – 17 Dec 2014

According to Slier, EU officials have given Israel assurances that Brussels’ position has not changed, saying Wednesday’s ruling was a “technical” mistake. Officials from the 28-member bloc further said the court did not have sufficient authority to affect the entire EU’s position.

In the interim, however, EU member states will be empowered to establish diplomatic ties with Hamas.

A Palestinian boy wearing the headband of Hamas's armed wing sits on the shoulders of his father during a rally ahead of the 27th anniversary of Hamas founding, in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip December 12, 2014 (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

A Palestinian boy wearing the headband of Hamas’s armed wing sits on the shoulders of his father during a rally ahead of the 27th anniversary of Hamas founding, in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip December 12, 2014 (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

The EU ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, will meet with Israel’s Foreign Minister, Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, on Wednesday to discuss the matter, Israeli daily Haaretz reports. Faaborg-Andersen is expected to reiterate that the EU’s position on Hamas remains unchanged, and that a future decision to reclassify Hamas as a terror organization is forthcoming.

During the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Hamas defeated the PLO-affiliated Fatah party and has governed the Gaza Strip for the past seven years. Some countries have treated Hamas as a terrorist organization, while others have not. While Australia, Canada, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Qatar, the US and the UK all treat Hamas or its military wing as a terrorist organization, other states, including China, Iran, Russia and Turkey, do not.

Hamas leaders have made several diplomatic trips to Russia to discuss a range of issues, from Palestinian reconciliation to economic relations.

Western Sanctions Against Russia Illegal, Beyond National Jurisdiction – Russian Lawmaker

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – Western countries are going beyond their national jurisdiction by imposing sanctions against Russia, as such measures are illegal, Russia’s lower house speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Thursday.

“Such actions are illegal and thus void, and not only because they are unilateral. Apparently, some Western leaders, especially from overseas, imagine themselves judges when arbitrarily finding someone guilty and identifying responsibility for entire countries and nations,” the speaker said.

“They [Western leaders] do not mind that this issue is completely beyond their jurisdiction,” Naryshkin added.

The time of confrontations between empires has gone, but containment policies against Russia “and geopolitical ploys aimed at weakening it are still present. These are the real reasons behind the replication of cold war methods as well as various sanctions and black lists,” the parliamentarian concluded.

On Tuesday, the United States as well as the European Union announced new rounds of sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. Washington introduced sanctions on three more Russian banks, namely VTB, the country’s second-largest bank, the Bank of Moscow and Russian Agricultural Bank, as well as state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation. The EU agreed on a new set of sectoral economic sanctions against Russia, which are to go into effect tomorrow, August 1.

Russia has repeatedly denied accusations that it was involved with the eastern Ukrainian militia and called the “language of sanctions” counterproductive.

 

Krist Novoselic Comments on Israel-Palestine Conflict, Defends Vedder

“It is the knuckleheads on both sides that should be criticized and not the singer from a rock band”

Krist Novoselic Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

Krist Novoselic
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.

 

July 21, 2014

Former Nirvana bassist and political activist Krist Novoselic has voiced his support for Eddie Vedder’s recent anti-war statements in a post on his website. Over the past week, the Pearl Jam frontman has made several comments condemning war in general. When the Israeli media interpreted the statements as referring to that country’s ongoing conflict with Palestine, Vedder posted a statement to Pearl Jam’s website saying, “War hurts. It hurts no matter which sides the bombs are falling on.” Novoselic also interpreted the comments to be about Palestine and Israel and wrote to Vedder, “I stand with you my friend!!!”

No Apologies: All 102 Nirvana Songs Ranked

“The people of Palestine and Israel deserve peace and prosperity,” the bassist wrote. “It is time to stop repeating the same old arguments, dogma and hate speech. It is the knuckleheads on both sides that should be criticized and not the singer from a rock band. In addition, both sides need to make hard decisions about finding a settlement to the catastrophe that is Israel/Palestine.”

For most of his 550-word missive on the subject, Novoselic addressed the decades-long conflict between the two countries. He praised Israel for encouraging religious freedom in its country and acknowledging that millions of Palestinians feel that Israel has displaced them. But he also pontificated on the long-term effects of war, specifically between Israel and Palestine. “[Palestinian] Hamas’ policy of not recognizing Israel is a dead end,” he wrote at one juncture. Elsewhere, he wrote, “You can give any anecdote you want about how small Israel is in comparison to the rest of the Middle East but the sentiment is still there – Palestinians feel that their land was taken away.”

“Our world is connected as never before,” the bassist wrote. “People from all corners of the planet share culture and commerce at the click of a mouse. In contrast to this great convergence of humanity, Israel is building tall concrete walls while Palestinians fire rockets over them. There’s a shared recent history between these people, and I think there could be a shared future that’s more in tune with what’s going on with our ever-connected universe.”

Novoselic compared the conflict to the way Ireland settled “the troubles” of the 1960s in Ireland, and how the “19th Century idea” of Yugoslavia ultimately fell apart. “In both these cases, a resolution of the conflict was buttressed by the promise of the stability needed for prosperity to happen,” wrote Novoselic, who was born to immigrants from Croatia, a country that was part of Yugoslavia until the early Nineties.

“Thank you Eddie Vedder for speaking up for peace in our world,” Novoselic wrote. “Eddie has gotten some criticism over comments he made about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. That situation has been messed up for so long, it is no wonder that even mentioning it is toxic. Let’s face it, the relationship between the Palestinians and the Israelis is a disaster! I don’t know how many times I have heard the same explanations and excuses and it matters not, there is a continuing catastrophe between those two peoples.”

Most recently, Vedder spoke against war at his July 18th solo concert in Portugal, where he also played what he called “the most powerful song ever written,” John Lennon’s “Imagine.” “If you’re anti-war it doesn’t mean you are ‘pro’ one side or the other in a conflict,” he said.