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Sunday, March 01, 2015

Egypt gets what Europe doesn't

One month after an Egyptian court branded Hamas' 'military wing' a terrorist organization, a second Egyptian court has branded the entire organization a terrorist group.
Hamas slammed the decision calling it a “stain on Egypt’s reputation.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the ruling has turned the Palestinian people into the enemy of Egypt and Israel, its friend. He accused the Egyptian court of trying to blame outside forces for the internal unrest.
Last week, state-run newspaper al-Ahram accused Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood of conspiring to overthrow the Egyptian regime within the next few years.
The newspaper quoted “informed sources” who accused Hamas’s military wing of coordinating plans with the Brotherhood to hit Egyptian military targets and vital installations and distribute footage of the attacks in order to lower national morale. They claimed that the two groups planned to spread rumors of an Islamic State presence in Egypt in order to sow panic among the population.
Hamas and the Brotherhood thus hoped to spread fear and disappointment with the Egyptian armed forces, the sources alleged, while also working behind the scenes, using agents in the government to disrupt internal services and erode trust in the regime.
On February 6 hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated outside Egypt’s diplomatic mission in Gaza City to protest the ruling outlawing Hamas’s armed wing. Protesters waved green Hamas flags and chanted in support of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades: “Qassam are the pride of the nation, not terrorists!”
Al-Jazeera adds (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
The verdict resulted from two separate private suits filed by two lawyers against the de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Ghazi Hamad, a deputy foreign minister, rejected the court decision as "very dangerous."
"They are now saying that the [Palestinian] resistance and struggle against the occupation is a crime," he said.
Mustafa Barghouti, a senior Palestinian official who is neither from Hamas or Fatah, told Al Jazeera in a separate interview that the verdict "is a very unwise decision" that carries political complication.
"Hamas is part of the Palestinian national unity movement, and this decision is not useful."
Being part of the 'Palestinian resistance' apparently no longer provides immunity from lawsuits in Egypt, and that's good news. But this could also have serious repercussions.
Saturday's ruling comes just days after Egypt adopted a new anti-terrorism law allowing the authorities to close the premises of any declared "terrorist" organisation, and to freeze its assets as well as those of its members.
It couldn't happen to a nicer group.

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