SWC to European Union and Council of Europe: "Bar Hamas from Your Parliamentary Assemblies"

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Wiesenthal Centre to European Union and Council of Europe: "Bar Hamas from Your Parliamentary Assemblies; Boycott this Racist Terrorist Regime"

Paris, 20 March 2006

In a letter to European Parliament President, Josep Borrell Fontelles, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, expressed astonishment that "the forthcoming EU Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA), meeting in Brussels on 26 - 27 March 2006, is to host Hamas-affiliated members of the new Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)."

Samuels noted that "Hamas - comprising both its political and military wings - is banned by the EU and appears on its blacklist of terrorist organizations."

The letter added that "as a member of the Quartet, the EU has committed itself to bar all contact with Hamas until the latter recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism, and endorses all Palestinian Authority agreements signed with Israel."

The Centre warned that "to accept Hamas-affiliated delegates at the EMPA would:
- legitimize terrorism
- contravene the EU's own commitments
- demonstrate appeasement to a radical fundamentalism that threatens the entire Middle East
- disqualify the EU as a player in the Quartet
- make a mockery of parliamentary democracy."

Samuels continued, "to welcome Hamas in Brussels would compare with European leaders in 1933 hosting the newly elected officials of Nazi Germany", adding, "The Hamas Charter reeks of antisemitism. Hamas chief, Khaled Mashal, last month in a Damascus mosque ordered Europe to kneel at his throne of victory, while a Hamas on-line children's magazine called for the return of the Caliphate to Seville and the lost territories of Andalucia."

In a related letter to René van der Linden, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Centre protested the formal invitation to Hamas to attend its Sub-Committee on the Middle East in Strasbourg on 15 April.

Samuels emphasized the contradiction of this invitation with PACE Resolution 1420 (2005), "Prospects for Peace in the Middle East" that, as he reiterated,
- "endorses 'the Roadmap'. This is rejected by Hamas;
-  calls for 'a two-state solution'. This is refused by Hamas for a one state of Palestine over the ruins of Israel;
-  urges 'an end to violence and terrorism and measures to dismantle terrorist organizations'. Mr President, Hamas is itself a proscribed terrorist organization!"

The letter pointed to the Council of Europe - to which the Wiesenthal Centre holds consultative status - as "the continent's primary guardian of human rights", and to Hamas as "its antithesis".

The Centre urged both the 25 member-state European Union and the 46 member-state Council of Europe to bar Hamas from their sessions. It emphasized to their respective presidents that "the spectres of Nazism and the memory of its millions of victims require Europe to appropriately confront this new racist terrorist regime. Hamas must be isolated and
boycotted as a menace to modernization and stability in the Middle East and, by its incitement to hatred and violence, as a threat to social cohesion in Europe itself."

A copy of the letter was shared with Council of Europe Secretary-General, Terry Davis.

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33 6 09 77 01 58.