Israeli leaders on Wednesday slammed a ruling by the General Court of the European Union removing Palestinian resistance movement Hamas from the EU's list of "terrorist" organizations.
"We are not satisfied with the European Union's explanation that the removal of Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations is a 'technical matter'," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement issued in response to Wednesday's court ruling.
"The burden of proof is on the European Union and we expect it to put Hamas back on the list forthwith given that it is understood by all that Hamas – a murderous terrorist organization, the covenant of which specifies the destruction of Israel as its goal – is an inseparable part of this list," he added.
Netanyahu vowed that his country would continue to fight Hamas with "strength and determination so that it never achieves this goal."
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, for his part, said the EU "must have lost its mind" to remove Hamas from its terror list.
The decision, he was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post, displayed "inflexibility [and] moral distortion and grants a prize to the extremist Islamic terror that is currently plaguing the entire world, including Europe itself."
Earlier Wednesday, the European court officially removed Hamas from the EU's list of "terrorist" organizations – a move hailed by the Palestinian movement as a "victory for justice."
European diplomats had been quoted by the Israeli media as saying that the court was likely to rule in Hamas' favor because the initial decision to label the resistance group a "terrorist organization" had not been taken in accordance with EU regulations.
Hamas was added to the EU's list of "terrorist" groups in 2003 after claiming responsibility for a spate of attacks on Israeli targets during the second Intifada, a popular uprising that erupted in 2000 against Israel's decades-long occupation.
Thousands of Palestinians were killed in the uprising, which finally came to an end in 2005.