An adviser to the European Union's top court says Hamas and the Tamil Tigers should be dropped from the EU's list of terrorist organizations.
The reason? It's not because the adviser thinks Hamas is no longer conducting terror attacks against Israel. It's because the adviser says the procedure for placing the terror groups on the list in the first place wasn't followed.
The opinion of the European Court of Justice’s advocate general isn’t binding on the courts judges. However, if confirmed, it would mark a key point in a drawn-out court battle between the Palestinian and Sri Lankan groups and EU governments.
Depending on the detailed argument of the judges, EU governments might then still have an opportunity to place both Hamas and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as the group is formally known, back on the list.
In 2014, the EU’s second-highest court ordered both Hamas and the Tamil Tigers to be struck off the bloc’s terror list in two separate decisions.
It said at the time that Hamas’s listing wasn’t based on evidence that had been properly examined and confirmed by national authorities, but on “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.”
The European Council, which represents EU governments in the bloc’s lawmaking process, had appealed that judgment, arguing that it was relying on a 2001 decision by the U.K. that designated both Hamas and the Tamil Tigers as terrorist groups, as well as the terror listing for both groups in the U.S.
Thursday’s opinion rejects that argument, following similar reasoning as the 2014 decision. “The council cannot rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet,” Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston said.
Ms. Sharpston also said that the council couldn’t rely on terror listings by countries outside the bloc, such as the U.S., without ensuring that there was sufficient protection of fundamental rights.
A final judgment from the Luxembourg-based ECJ will likely take several months to arrive. The court’s judges often follow the opinions, but have also come out on the opposite end of their advisers in a few notable cases.
Until the case has been finally adjudicated, both Hamas and the Tamil Tigers will remain on the terror list. That means the groups’ assets will remain frozen and the EU will make extra efforts to stop any European funding from reaching them. The blacklisting also discourages EU officials from holding direct talks with senior members of either group.
Did the court think to ask EU member intelligence agencies for their opinion? It wouldn't be evidence from "newspapers" or "the internet." The evidence would be based on cold, hard facts.
But even that isn't necessary. It may be a novel approach, but maybe they should ask Hamas about annihilating the Jews. Or perhaps ask Hamas why they celebrate the spate of knife attacks on Israeli citizens – attacks they encourage.
But to the bureaucrats in Brussels, all the paperwork has to be in order, all the is dotted and ts crossed while the truth be damned.
The danger is, if Hamas is taken off the terror list, a flood of money will flow into its coffers. It will be earmarked for "economic development" but will somehow – magically – end up funding terrorist attacks. A child is aware of this probability, but that doesn't appear to matter to the fools who are playing with fire by legitimizing Hamas.