(JTA) — The European Jewish Congress described as “unconscionable” the recommendation by an adviser to the European Union’s top court to remove Hamas from the EU terrorism watch list.
The advocate general at the European Court of Justice made the recommendation late last week. It comes after the Council of European Union member states appealed a decision by the court in late 2014 to remove Hamas from the list based on a technicality.
The 2014 decision said that Hamas was placed on the list based on media reports and that the evidence against Hamas had not been properly examined and confirmed.
Removal from the terrorism watch list would unfreeze Hamas assets in EU countries.
The decision of the advocate general is not binding, but its advice is usually followed by the judges of the court.
“It is unconscionable that European bureaucrats are playing with people’s lives due to a technicality and narrow-mindedness,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC, said in a statement. “Hamas has murdered countless people and ensures millions more live in misery, and their means to kill many more could be given to them on a silver platter because someone in Europe feels there is not enough evidence to define them as a terrorist organization.”
The U.S. government considers Hamas a terrorist organization.
Hamas’ military wing was added to the first EU blacklist of terrorist groups issued in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Hamas’ political wing was blacklisted in 2003.
“We call on moral and ethical leaders to rectify this issue once and for all because this isn’t some legal argument with little bearing but the potential arming of people whose raison d’être is murder and mayhem,” Kantor said. “While Jews are continued to be targets in Europe, European bureaucrats could be providing the ammunition both on this continent and elsewhere.
“If Hamas is indeed removed from the terror watch list, then this will be the lowest and most worrying point for European Jewry in 70 years.”