The UK has pledged to do its best to keep the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, “Hamas” on the European Union’ s list of terrorist organisations, despite the EU High Court’s decision to take the group off of the list on Wednesday.
While the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it is studying the judgment carefully, its Home Office confirmed the decision would not lead to a change in the UK’s position on Hamas.
Early Wednesday, the EU General Court, the second highest EU court, judged that the Palestinian movement should be removed from the bloc’s terror blacklist.
On 27 December 2001, the Council of the European Union added Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassem brigades to its blacklist as the “terrorist wing of Hamas,” Hamas was added two years later.
The judgment said the EU decision to designate Hamas as a terrorist organisation had been based on "factual imputations derived from the press and the internet,” not on reviewing of movement' actions.
The FCO said the Court judgment to remove Hamas from the EU’s terror list is procedural.
“It does not mean the UK or EU have changed their position on Hamas,” a FCO spokesperson told Ahram Online.
“Will do everything in our power to ensure that the listing of Hamas at the EU is maintained”, she added.
Hamas' lawyer, Liliane Glock, has been quoted as describing Wednesday’s EU decision as "satisfying.”
She added that "every decision since 2001 imposing restrictive measures, including on the armed wing, have been annulled. I believe that this judgment shows the whole world that it exists and is legal.”
FCO spokesperson reiterated that the court verdict will not change the UK position, adding that it has its own separate proscription process.
It is understood that implications of Hamas’ listing at the EU will remain in place for three months as the judgement – which is appealable before the higher court – has no immediate practical outcome.
The UK Home Office, in its turn, said the EU judgment will not have “automatic implications” on the UK list of terrorist organisations.
“This (the judgment) is an EU issue”, its spokesman told Ahram Online.
“We have to wait and see if there will be legal challenge to the EU Court verdict,”he added.
However, he refused to state whether the UK will be taking part in any possible legal challenge.