EU court rejects Hamas appeal over frozen assets | News | DW | 14.12.2018
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EU court rejects Hamas appeal over frozen assets

Hamas had appealed to a top EU court to have its assets unfrozen because it is part of the Palestinian government. The EU, however, lists Hamas as a terrorist organization.

A top EU court on Friday rejected an appeal by the Palestinian Hamas movement to unfreeze its assets.

Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007 after it won Palestinian elections, has been listed on the EU terrorist list since 2001.

The General Court of the EU rejected a long-running attempt by the militant group to recover its assets in Europe after a series of decision by the European Council in 2010, 2014 and 2017.

The European Court of Justice in 2017 overturned a General Court ruling that Hamas should be scratched from the EU terrorism list because the EU made the decision based on press reports and internet posts.

"By its judgment today... the General Court dismisses Hamas' appeal concerning the acts of the Council adopted between 2010 and 2014 and in 2017," the bloc's second-highest tribunal said.

However, in its ruling on Friday, the General Court said the EU had a right to label Hamas a terrorist organization and freeze its assets based on a previous decision of Britain's home secretary.

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Hamas not a sovereign state

Hamas had argued that since it won elections in 2006, which subsequently led to a division of Palestinian control between the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, it could not be subject to sanctions as a political group with government participation.

"The General Court observes, contrary to Hamas' submissions, that holding on to power following elections, the political nature of an organization or its participation in a government do not constitute grounds for avoiding the application of the rules," the court said.

It added that Hamas is not a sovereign state and could not rely on the principle of non-interference to annul the Council's decision.

The court decision comes as the Gaza Strip suffers from a mounting humanitarian crisis, in part caused by three wars with Israel since 2008 and an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

It also comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has allowed Qatar to deliver cash payments to the impoverished Gaza Strip to cover the salaries of thousands of employees and to buy fuel to ease an electricity crisis. Qatar has pledged to provide $90 million to the Gaza Strip under the deal with Israel.

cw/sms (AFP, dpa)

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