Tuesday

20th Feb 2018

Hamas appeals for talks with EU diplomats

  • Sheehan (l) and Haniyeh on Sunday (Photo: CEPR.org)

The Prime Minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, has appealed to the EU to take his political and militant group, Hamas, off its terrorist register.

Speaking to a delegation of visiting parliamenterians from Poland, Portugal and the UK in Gaza on Sunday (2 December), he said: "It is time to remove the Palestinian resistance from the terrorist list. Hamas is a national liberation movement which operates only inside the borders of Palestine."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We would like you to send a message from under the rubble which you have seen here, that we are not terrorists," he added.

His spokesman, Taher Nouno, told EUobserver: "We want a direct dialogue with European leaders so that they can hear from us, not just to hear about us."

"This dialogue is very important. Maybe we can change our minds on some issues and maybe European countries can change their minds on some issues," he noted.

The EU designated Hamas as a terrorist entity in 2003 during a suicide bombing campaign in Israel.

The decision means it cannot meet with EU officials or EU countries' diplomats and that the Palestinian diaspora in Europe is forbidden from sending it money.

Communication channels do exist.

For example, Hamas meets with Norwegian, Swiss and UN diplomats, who in turn speak with EU foreign ministries.

But the EU's main partner on the conflict is the Palestinian Authority, a body dominated by Fatah, a rival and more moderate Palestinian group, which holds sway in the West Bank.

The EU has three conditions for Hamas to get off the register: to renounce the use of violence, to recognise Israel's right to exist and to abide by international agreements, such as the 1993 Oslo Accord on the creation of a Palestinian state via bilateral talks with Israel.

Haniyeh on Sunday made some conciliatory remarks.

He said he accepts a two-state solution based on 1967 borders. "We do not oppose this and we are willing to work for this at this stage," he noted.

His words amount to a recognition of Israel's right to exist and the confinement of Palestine to a fraction of its historical territory even though the Hamas charter officially calls for the destruction of Israel.

But his other statements were more hostile.

He said he has no faith in solving the conflict through talks with Israel.

"It has been 20 years since the negotiations began, but they have not brought our people any results. During the negotiations, Israeli settlements have increased, the separation wall was built, Jerusalem has been judaised and Gaza has been put under a blockade," he noted.

"Israel is not a partner for peace. It wants a peace process, but not peace ... If peace negotiations have not brought any results, isn't it our right to use other options?" he added.

He also indicated the Palestinian Authority should use its recently won right to file cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Referring to last month's fighting - in which Hamas rockets killed six Israelis and Israeli jets killed over 180 Palestinians - he accused Israel of "war crimes."

"It is time after all these atrocities that Israeli war criminals are brought to justice," he said.

Some European politicians believe the EU should start talking to Hamas without preconditions.

Pat Sheehan - an MP in the devolved parliament in Belfast and a former Irish Republican Army hunger striker - said the peace process would not have worked in Northern Ireland if the British government had not sat around a table with people whom it called "terrorists."

Referring to the EU's demands for delisting Hamas, he told EUobserver: "You don't ask for trust at the start of the process. It comes at the end of the process."

There is also interest in better contact in diplomatic circles in Brussels.

One senior EU diplomatic source told this website: "We have to have a clear signal from [Hamas] that they have changed. But there hasn't been any engagement for years so we don't know what they really want and so we are going round in circles."

The contact noted there is zero chance of all 27 EU countries agreeing to delist it in the foreseeable future, however.

He added that the best prospect for dialogue is if Hamas forms part of a unity government with Fatah and talks to the EU through the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas.

"The only real answer is reconciliation behind Abbas," he said.

UN vote marks EU defeat for Israel

Just one EU country - the Czech Republic - voted against Palestine's bid to become a UN "observer state" on Thursday.

Israel vs. Palestine: one-nil?

Israel last month showed off its high-tech weapons by scoring a "goal" with bombs in a Gaza football field. But civilian deaths and settlement expansion have caused diplomatic defeats.

Hamas calls for EU talks after court ruling

Hamas wants the EU to start new talks after a court ruling annulling its 'terrorist' status, but there is no prospect of high-level meetings for now.

From Gaza to EU: one man's journey

The efforts of one Palestinian man to get to his scholarship at a European university show how cut off Gaza is from normality.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs approve anti-smuggling bill on tobacco
  2. SPD members start voting on new Merkel-led government
  3. Barroso lobbied Katainen for Goldman Sachs
  4. Berlusconi's coalition ahead with 34.7% support
  5. Moscovici: Greece '99 percent' there to get new bailout
  6. Simone Veil to enter France's Pantheon in July
  7. German poll puts far-right AfD ahead of SPD for first time
  8. Commissioners poised to join EU-Mexico trade talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. Tomorrow the Brussels Pre-Event
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  3. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  4. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  6. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  12. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February

Latest News

  1. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds
  2. Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me
  3. A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe
  4. Poland wrong to log in ancient forest, says EU lawyer
  5. EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme
  6. Commissioner Katainen confirms Barroso lobbied him
  7. Eurogroup chief pledge on transparency after meeting MPs
  8. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?