Netanyahu: Europe Has Learned Nothing From Holocaust

Prime minister attacks European court decision to have Hamas removed from the EU's list of terrorist organizations.

Netanyahu
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to at a Likud meeting in Kfar Maccabiah, Dec. 16, 2014. Ofer Vaknin

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the Holocaust to sharply attack Europe following the decision by the European court in Luxembourg to have Hamas removed from the EU's list of terrorist organizations, and against the backdrop of Wednesday's Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention in Switzerland.

"We saw today examples hanging before us of European prejudice," said Netanyahu at the opening of his meeting with U.S. Senator-Elect Joni Ernst of Iowa. "In Geneva, they are calling for an investigation against Israel for war crimes, while in Luxembourg the European court removed Hamas from the terrorist list. It looks like there are too many people in Europe, on the ground where six million Jews were slaughtered, who haven't learned a thing. The friendship we see from the United States stands in complete contrast to what we are seeing regretfully in Europe."

Earlier Wednesday, the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg accepted the petition by Hamas in which it sought to have itself removed from the EU's list of terrorist organizations. The hearing in the European court was technical and procedural, and did not stem from a change in the EU's position regarding Hamas.

The court postponed implementing the ruling for three months to allow for the EU commission or one of the EU's 28 member states to petition the decision.

Nations belonging to the Geneva Conventions that govern rules of war and military occupations said Wednesday international humanitarian law must be followed – and all serious violations investigated – in areas affected by conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

The United States, Canada, Australia and Israel boycotted the conference.

A declaration, legally binding on the 126 nations that adopted it by consensus, emphasizes one aspect of the Geneva Conventions: a prohibition on colonizing occupied land.

Ibrahim Khraishi
AP

Among the concerns raised in the 10-point declaration adopted Wednesday are that Israel should "fully and effectively" respect the Fourth Geneva Convention meant to protect civilians during times of war including in East Jerusalem and other occupied territories.