Decisions made by former Labour cabinet ministers Jack Straw and Gordon Brown back in 2001 have just helped the European Union win its latest legal battle against lawyers acting for Hamas.
Gaza’s rulers, whose political leadership is partly based in Doha, are seeking to unfreeze their funds held on the continent, and their lawyers have challenged the technical legality of the way in which the EU adopted its asset freeze.
They said the EU had not adopted a Common Position but instead had relied on American legal decisions designating Hamas as a terrorist organisation, which would have rendered the EU’s asset freeze illegal.
However, the Luxembourg court found that the UK had done so and that this was sufficient. Judges cited Straw’s decision to blacklist the organisation in March 2001, and Brown’s decision to freeze Hamas accounts.
Judges said Straw, who used the UK Terrorism Act 2000 to proscribe Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem on 29 March 2001, was UK Home Secretary at the time, so “has the status of competent authority within the meaning of the Common Position”.
The court was also able to rely on a decision made by then-Chancellor Gordon Brown on 6 December 2001 to freeze the group’s assets.
Hamas lawyers had argued that the EU’s freezing of the group’s assets was “a violation of its right to property” and that it was “disproportionate and intolerable”.
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”