The European Union’s top court took a step toward confirming the removal of Hamas from an EU terrorism blacklist despite protestations from Israel.
An advocate general at the European Court of Justice, whose advice is usually followed by judges, today recommended that they reject an appeal by the Council of EU member states against the lower EU court’s decisions in late 2014 to remove both movements from the sanctions list due to flaw procedures.
At the time, Israel, which has had fraught relations with the EU in recent years, recalled Europeans’ treatment of Jews in the Holocaust and denounced the bloc’s “staggering hypocrisy”.
Israel offered no immediate comment on the court officer’s advice on Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip and has fought Israel for three decades.
The United States has urged the maintenance of sanctions on Hamas.
Judges of the EU’s General Court ruled that EU leaders relied too heavily on media reports rather than their own investigations when they imposed asset freezes and travel bans dating back 15 years on members of Hamas.
The assets have since remained frozen pending the appeal.
Hamas has said it is engaged in legal wars against Israel.
The General Court did not address whether the groups’ actions merited inclusion on the list of terrorist organisations but ruled the procedures putting them on the list were flawed.
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