Europe Wants ‘Tangible Evidence’ of Hezbollah Terrorism Before Acting Against It (CNS) CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE) By Patrick Goodenough 07/27/12)
CNS} CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE
CNS} CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
(CNSNews.com) – Israeli officials and Jewish organizations have
criticized the European Union’s continuing reluctance to designate
Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, warning that at a time of
escalating Iranian-sponsored international terrorism and the crisis
in Syria failure to do so could impact on Mideast and global security.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah last week publicly reiterated his
support for the Assad regime – the Lebanese Shi’ite group’s most
important ally after Tehran – and accused the United States of
fomenting the crisis it currently faces, prompting concerns that
Hezbollah could mount fresh attacks in support of Damascus.
Israel meanwhile has accused Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, of
responsibility for the July 18 bombing in Bulgaria, which cost the
lives of five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian.
Neither Bulgaria nor the U.S. have yet publicly assigned blame,
although House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-
Mich.) and House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Pete King
(R-N.Y.) both told The Hill Wednesday they believe Iran and Hezbollah
The Israeli government, hopeful that an attack on European soil might
strengthen its case, took up the matter this week at a meeting with
the government of Cyprus – which holds the E.U.’s rotating
presidency – but was rebuffed.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said Hezbollah was
engaged in political, social and “armed wing” activities, and told
her Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, that there was “no
consensus among the E.U. member states for putting Hezbollah on the
“Should there be tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of
terrorism, the E.U. would consider listing the organization,” she
Although the main targets in attacks implicating Hezbollah have been
Israelis and Americans, the organization has also been accused of
carrying out attacks in Europe long before last week’s blast in
They include a series of bombings in Paris in 1986, which killed 13;
an unsuccessful attempt to carry out attacks in Cyprus in 1988; a
plot, foiled by Spanish police, to carry out attacks against Jewish
targets in Europe in 1989; an unsuccessful attempt to detonate a car
bomb outside a Jewish community building in Romania in 1992; and a
planned 1996 attack, also foiled by police, on an Israeli institution
A day after meeting with Kozakou-Marcoullis, Lieberman took his
appeal to Brussels where he met with E.U. foreign policy chief
According to a statement from his office, Lieberman told
Ashton “everyone knows who and what the Hezbollah organization is,
and all are aware of the criminal and terrorist activities it
As long as the E.U. fails to list Hezbollah as a terrorist
organization, he said, “the issue will have severe implications on
the stability of the Middle East and on global security.”
Designation would undercut Hezbollah’s fundraising activities in
Europe by making it illegal to for any European to send money to the
Set up with Iran’s assistance in the early 1980s, Hezbollah has been
listed by the U.S. as a “foreign terrorist organization” ever since
FTO designation was first established under 1996 legislation.
Israel and Canada have also listed it as a terrorist group but the
E.U. has resisted the move despite attempts by Israel for decades to
persuade it to act.
The Netherlands alone among the 27 member-states has designated the
group as a terrorist organization, while Britain – distinguishing
between the group’s political and social welfare activities in
Lebanon and its violent activities abroad – listed only its
supposed “armed wing.”
A British government minister told lawmakers in 2009 that “a thorough
review of Hezbollah and the extent to which various parts of the
organization are concerned in terrorism … concluded that a
distinction could be drawn between those parts of Hezbollah which are
legitimately involved in Lebanese politics and those which are
directly concerned in terrorism.”
On Wednesday, security experts told a U.S. Senate subcommittee
hearing that Washington should press its allies to stop treating
Hezbollah with kid gloves.
“Too often Hezbollah has got a free pass from U.S. allies because it
also engages in political and social welfare activity, leading some
states to try to distinguish between its ‘legitimate’
and ‘illegitimate’ sides,” said Brookings Institution scholar Daniel
The E.U. stance comes despite the fact Hezbollah’s very existence as
an armed group violates two U.N. Security Council resolutions.
Resolution 1559 of 2004 calls for “the disbanding and disarmament of
all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias,” and resolution 1701 of 2006
requires “the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that …
there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of
the Lebanese state.”
In a statement issued after the meeting between Israeli and E.U.
officials in Cyprus, the E.U. said it “recalls the need for the full
implementation of all relevant UNSC resolutions” relating to Lebanon,
and cited 1559 and 1701 among them.
While European governments are reluctant to link Hezbollah to
terrorism, security agencies appear to be less so.
In a speech in London last month, Jonathan Evans, head of Britain’s
MI5 security agency, pointed to an Iranian plot uncovered by the U.S.
last year to carry out attacks on American soil, beginning with the
assassination of the Saudi ambassador in Washington.
“So a return to state-sponsored terrorism by Iran or its associates,
such as Hezbollah, cannot be ruled out as pressure on the Iranian
leadership increases,” Edwards said.
In contrast to the ambivalence of E.U. governments, lawmakers in the
European Parliament in 2005 passed a resolution – by 473 votes to
eight – calling Hezbollah a terrorist group and urging “all needed
measures to put an end to the terrorist activities of this group.”
Jews in various countries have been targeted over the years in
attacks attributed to Hezbollah, both in Europe and in Latin America,
most brutally when a Jewish community center in the Argentine
capital, Buenos Aires was bombed in 1994, killing 85 people and
wounding 300 more.
On Thursday, World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder criticized
the E.U.’s refusal to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
“Our communities in Europe expect from their governments that they
guarantee safety for Jewish sites and allow Jewish life to flourish,”
he said. “Terrorist attacks are not acts of God. They can be avoided
if warnings are taken seriously and if terrorist organizations and
their sponsors are recognized as such.”
A contrary view came from Stuart Reigeluth of the Council for
European Palestinian Relations in Brussels.
“Hezbollah has been part of the State of Lebanon since the 1990s and
declaring it a terrorist group would essentially give Israel carte
blanche for some more carpet bombing of its northern neighbor,” he
wrote in an op-ed Thursday. The article was headlined, “Israel
itching for war.” (copyright 1998-2012 Cybercast News Service
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY