Israel has begun an offensive to have Hezbollah labelled as a terrorist organization by the European Union. The urgency of the move stems from Israel’s desire to isolate the organization, halting any attempts by Hezbollah to fill the power vacuum left when Bashar al- Assad falls in Syria.
According to the Israeli daily Maariv, Israeli officials have been preparing documents of a legal nature to help Europe make the decision. The documents outline the terrorist nature of Hezbollah by highlighting its activities in the past. Among the items in the documents: the kidnapping of Elhanan Tannenbaum in 2000 and evidence presented by an international tribunal tying Hezbollah to the murder Lebanese President Rafik al-Hariri in 2005.
One of the documents deals with the support Hezbollah has given to Assad’s forces in Syria; another details its activities in drug smuggling and money laundering.
Thus far Israel’s push has been given a lukewarm reception. The French are concerned that such a move could destabilize the fragile political environment in Lebanon. The EU headquarters in Brussels is also opposed, for fear that Hezbollah may apply to the European Court in Luxembourg and ask for the cancellation of the decision on the grounds that it was made without legal admissible evidence.
The United States has also been at the forefront of the push to have Hezbollah outlawed. Earlier this month Senator Joseph Lieberman (I., Conn.) sponsored a resolution urging “the President to make available to European allies and the European public information about Hezbollah’s terrorist activities.”
Only the Dutch government has listed Hezbollah’s entire enterprise as an illicit terror organization.