EU/MIDDLE EAST: HAMAS OFFICIALLY INCLUDED ON BLACKLIST OF TERRORIST ORGANISATIONS
Tuesday 16 September 2003
The Palestinian movement Hamas has been officially included on the European Union's blacklist of terrorist organisations. A Decision to this end was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on September 13. The European Union has added the military and political wings of Hamas to its list but has stopped short of complying with Washington's demand that it also include charitable organisations suspected by the United States of indirectly funding the movement. The principal consequence of the EU's decision will be the freezing of any Hamas funds in the Union and the blocking of transfers destined for Hamas coffers. The list, drawn up on December 27, 2001 in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 on the fight against terrorism, does not name any individuals as some had been expecting. The EU decision also provides for greater police and judicial co-operation on this dossier between the Member States. Some argue that the European Union's decision will have more of a politico-symbolic effect than any practical impact on Hamas funds given that the organisation is not thought to openly entrust its financial assets to Western banks. The European Union nevertheless now has a legal basis which should permit police forces and judicial authorities to act in concert against any suspected funding of Hamas.
Hamas has responded by indicating that the European Union has committed a grave error by including it on the blacklist of terrorist organisations, but that the decision will in no way affect the movement's resistance operations. It dismisses the EU decision as a submission to pressure from Israel and the United States. Hamas representatives have indicated that since the organisation's revenue comes largely from Arab and Muslim countries, the European Union's decision will have no impact on its struggle against Israel's occupation of the Palestinian Territories.