EU Classifies Hezbollah Military Wing as Terrorist Group
JNS.org – After resisting the requests of Israel and the United States for more than a year after the Burgas bus bombing for which Hezbollah has been implicated as the perpetrator, the 28-member European Union (EU) has agreed to place the “military wing” of the Lebanese group on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations, Reuters reported.
The move will freeze assets Hezbollah may hold within the EU, but falls short of blacklisting the entire organization of Hezbollah as one entity. The EU’s designation means the body still considers the parliamentary faction of Hezbollah, which was not blacklisted, to be a separate political wing and not part of a terrorist organization.
“The EU action is a significant step forward in recognizing the true nature of Hezbollah,” American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris. “While AJC, like the U.S., Canadian and Dutch governments, considers Hezbollah a single organization, we applaud this decision and the spotlight it shines on Hezbollah terrorist activity.”
Blacklisting Hezbollah’s military wing required unanimous approval among the EU’s members, but nations such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Ireland had up to this point refused to back a British proposal to do so.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev last week offered his country’s latest affirmation that Hezbollah was behind the attack that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver on July 18, 2012, at Burgas Airport. On the one-year anniversary of the attack, Yovchev said there are “clear signs that say Hezbollah is behind the Burgas bombing,” adding that Bulgaria’s new Socialist government, since taking office in late May, has received more information implicating Hezbollah in the attack.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livini said, “After years of deliberations and going back and forth on the matter, the argument that Hezbollah was a political movement and their attempt to whitewash their terrorist activity has failed.”
In light of the move to blacklist Hezbollah, EU governments are likely to pledge continued dialogue with all political groups in Lebanon, Reutersreported.
“A few member states wanted to be reassured that such a decision [to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing] will not in any way jeopardize political dialogue,” said a senior EU official.