The EU’s second highest court annulled the bloc’s decision to keep Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations and many EU countries, despite Israel’s objections, decided to recognize Palestine as a state
A top European Union court ruled on Wednesday that Hamas, a Palestinian resistance group, be removed from its terror list, but ordered that a funding freeze would continue for three months or until an appeal was closed. The court claimed that the disputed results were not based on an examination of Hamas's acts but on accusations obtained from the media and the Internet. The EU Parliament will decide whether or not to recognize Palestinian statehood.
With the EU Parliament deciding whether or not to recognize Palestinian statehood, and Palestine proposing a draft to the U.N. Security Council to end Israeli occupation within two years, Israel is feeling the heat. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called on the EU to keep Hamas listed as a terrorist organization — an anticipated and unsurprising move.
"We expect them to immediately put Hamas back on the list," Netanyahu said in a statement. "Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization which in its charter states its goal is to destroy Israel."
A country that was ethnically cleansed in 1948, occupied for decades, and that undergoes daily struggles of inequality and oppression, reasonably doesn't have welcoming Israel with an open heart on the top of its to-do list. Israel refuses to consider Hamas a legitimate government, even after its democratic, majority wins in 2006, and Hamas refuses to acknowledge the state of Israel. Though Hamas has affirmed that it may agree to a 10-year truce if Israel extracts to the 1967 borders and permits Palestinian refugees from 1948 to return, Netanyahu made it vey clear that Israel will never accept withdrawing to its older borders.
Palestine is currently preparing to present a U.N. Security Council resolution setting a two-year deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from territory occupied since 1967. The usually-rocket-filled sky seems to be clearing for Palestine as the European Parliament voted on Wednesday, the same day as the ruling for Hamas's removal off the terror list took place, for a resolution calling for the recognition of Palestinian statehood. The resolution was approved by a vote of 498 to 88, with 111 abstentions. With constant talks of a two-state-solution, recognizing both entities as a state is the first crucial step.
The EU General Court's decision to remove Hamas from the terrorist list ''is a legal ruling, and not a political decision taken by EU governments," said Maja Kocijancic, European Commission spokeswoman. "The EU continues to consider Hamas a terrorist organization."
Not all of the EU's members agree with the ruling, with Germany and the United Kingdom saying that the ruling is not necessarily a reason for them to soften their opinions about Hamas.
The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that it was looking into the decision, and would do everything it can to make sure Hamas would remain on the EU's terror list. "The EU General Court judgment is procedural," their Foreign Office said. "It does not mean the U.K. or EU have changed their position on Hamas. This is a separate process under U.K. legislation. The proscription in the U.K. is unchanged by the court judgment."
Similarly, the United States, Israel's financial backbone, believes "that the E.U. should maintain its terrorism sanctions on Hamas," according to U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Meanwhile, Hamas and their global supporters, happily welcomed the ruling, claiming the group is a rightful resistance movement. "The decision is a correction of a historical mistake the European Union had made," said Moussa Aby Marzouk, deputy Hamas chief. "Hamas is a resistance movement and it has a natural right, according to all international laws and standards, to resist the occupation."
After years of never-ending peace talks, the very basis of the situation tends to be overlooked – that it is and always has been an occupation. If the U.S. truly believed that premise, it arguably has the power to end Israeli annexation. But a relationship based on interests, like sharing terrorism intelligence and Middle Eastern politics, will always appear to be more appealing. Constant U.S. policies that offer Israel billions of dollars, typically from taxpayers' money, and media reports continuously overlooking damage caused by Israel, truly captures the politically oriented world that has so far failed to reach a resolution.
If Israel truly desired peace with its neighbor, Netanyahu wouldn't be constantly pushing for Jewish settlements to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Several members of his coalition government opposed pushing for settlement and his Jewish-nation state bill, leading to the firing of Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, pushing Israel to early elections. The new government, to be elected in March, could result in a more extremist party, making peace talks, as difficult as they are now, nearly impossible.
As tensions rise amid Israel's internal state, tensions continue between the Jewish state and Gaza. Since 2007, Israel has upheld a blockade of Gaza, limiting access to food, water, electricity, gas, construction materials, and other necessities. The only other major supply route to Gaza that isn't Israeli-controlled it the Rafah crossing to Egypt.
When the ground invasion of Gaza took place last summer, causing approximately 2,000 deaths, Egypt, now controlled by Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former general who led the military coup that ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president, closed the Rafah crossing for much of the 50 days of fighting, denying the Palestinians any access to aid. Whenever there is an attack on Gaza, it is hard for Israel to bomb without injuring civilians from how densely populated the area is at 146 square miles and a population of 1.6 million.
While Mohammed Morsi was president, he said that the border crossing "will remain open to fulfill the needs of the people of Gaza, including food, medication, education and communication between families." El-Sissi, who was called a "national hero for all jews" by an Israeli ambassador, is a good ally to Israel as they see him as the most suitable monitor for the Camp David agreement, picking up whatever former dictator Hosni Mubarak left off. On a similar note, America, has recently allocated $1.4 billion in aid to its close Middle Eastern ally, despite continuous human rights violations committed by Egypt's current government.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one that sees no near solution. Perhaps if the interests of nations were put aside and the focus was put on the mere fact that Palestine has been fighting for the basic right to live on its own land, peace could be a possibility.
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