Monday, April 22, 2013

How easy is it for Hamas to be taken off of Europe's terror list?

From Ma'an:
The Hamas movement has been holding a series of closed-door meetings in the Qatari capital of Doha to distribute positions on the new members of its politburo, says senior leader Ahmed Yousif.

The new Hamas politburo, added Yousif, is expected to focus on benefiting from the Arab, Palestinian and Muslim communities in Europe to recruit support to Hamas in Europe, and try and take the movement’s name off terrorism lists.

“Hamas will focus on convincing European countries to take its name out of the terrorism list. Hamas is certain that the US will not agree to take its name off the list. However, European countries set only one condition to do that -- avoiding martyrdom attacks inside Israel, and Hamas hasn’t carried out any attack since 2004.”
I don't know if Hamas is telling the truth - groups who advocate genocide are often not the most trustworthy - but Hamas didn't make this idea up out of thin air. It seems likely that one or more sympathetic European diplomats gave Hamas this advice, and Hamas is heeding it.

This is very troubling. It means that some European diplomats, if not EU policymakers altogether,  believe that if a terror attack doesn't involve a suicide bomber - like at the Boston Marathon, say - then it isn't bad enough to blacklist the organization that brags about it.

European nations need to clarify their position on this issue, and writing to the Foreign Ministry offices of various EU member countries would be a good idea. Ask them these simple questions:

  • How do you define terrorism?
  • Does the EU consider the 2010 drive by shooting attack that killed Yitzhak and Talya Ames, Avishai Shindler and Kochava Chaim in 2010 to be a terror attack, or is it somehow OK because it happened outside the Green Line?
  • Does the EU consider the anti-tank missile attack against an Israeli schoolbus that killed 16 year old Daniel Viflic to be terrorism, or is it somehow OK becuase it wasn't a suicide bomb?
  • Does the EU consider Qassam and Grad rockets clearly aimed at civilians to be terrorism, or are they OK for some strange reason?

Whether or not Hamas is telling the truth, it is crucial to get the EU on the record as to their criteria to take Hamas off of the terror list.

(By the way, the most recent suicide bombing claimed by Hamas was in 2008, not 2004, when 73-year old Lyubov Razdolskaya was murdered.)

(h/t Mostly Kosher)

UPDATE: Last December:
An EU official denied claims made by Hamas Tuesday that Europe would remove the group from its list of terror organizations if it engaged in indirect talks with Israel, saying the organization had to meet the demands of the international community if it wished to be treated like a legitimate player.

Hamas must recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce terror and comply with all the agreements signed between Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority, the source told Israel Radio on Tuesday evening.
I'm not sure that this isn't apples and oranges. The demands to renounce terror, recognize Israel and comply with agreements are generally regarded as the formula to be treated as legitimate by the West, but the bar to get off of the terror list would be much lower. I can, unfortunately, see clueless European diplomats - always eager to find reasons to talk to everyone - come up with an absurd formula as listed above by Hamas to get it removed from that list.

After all, note how difficult it is to convince the EU to place Hezbollah on the terror list. They have been involved in numerous attacks and attempts at terror attacks in Europe itself and still the EU is skittish to place a political actor on the terror list. The same logic is behind EU readiness to turn a blind eye to some of Hamas' activities as long as it acts like a state actor.

It is still worthwhile to ask the specific question to EU diplomats as to what it takes to be removed from the terror list.

(h/t Israellycool)