human rights watch

lördag 25 maj 2013

Four European Countries Support the EU Blacklisting Hezbollah

Four European Countries Support the EU Blacklisting Hezbollah.

Four countries in the European Union have spoken out in support of the EU labeling Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization.

Great Britain, Germany and France have recently announced their support of the European Union blacklisting Hezbollah, in whole or in part, as a terrorist organization. These statements come afterHezbollah was found to be behind a terrorist attack in Burgas, Bulgaria during which five Israelis and one Bulgarian were murdered, and in the wake of the trial of a Hezbollah operative in Cyprus, where Cypriot authorities discovered a Hezbollah terror plot to murder Israeli citizens vacationing on the Mediterranean island. The fact that Hezbollah has also been assistingPresident Bashar Assad’s democide against the Syrian people has also influenced European support for labeling Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Presently, within the European Union, only the Netherlands labels Hezbollah in its entirety to be a terrorist organization and the Dutch have been urging other European countries to follow suit. Previously, European governments were reluctant to apply this label out of the fear that it would destabilize the situation in Lebanon, where many Europeans are serving with United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Hezbollah fightersGreat Britain has now formally requested that the European Union label Hezbollah’s military wing to be a terrorist organization.According to a spokesman for Great Britain’s Foreign Office, “We are calling for Europe to respond collectively and robustly following the atrocious terrorist attack at Burgas airport … We firmly believe that an appropriate EU response would be to designate Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization.”
France has stated that the French government hopes that Hezbollah’s military wing can be placed on the EU’s list of terrorist organizations by June. If this motion comes to pass, it will be significantly harder for Hezbollah to do fundraising in Europe and to carry out terrorist attacks within European Union territory.
Some feel that it does not go far enough. According to US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell, “The United States does not distinguish between Hezbollah’s political/military/terrorist wings,” adding that American intelligence indicates “Hezbollah’s numerous branches and subsidiaries share common funding, personnel, and leadership, all of which support the group’s violent actions. We have been urging our European partners — and other countries around the world — to take a wide range of steps to crack down on Hezbollah, including sanctions and increased law enforcement cooperation with the United States.”
Hassan NasrallahAdditionally, one Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, referred to this latest British initiative to get the EU to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization as a “half-baked move,” asserting, “This is a distinction that we believe is absolutely artificial. Hezbollah itself does not make any distinction between the political wing and the military wing, so why should anybody else? They’re not all carrying around bombs, but the whole organization is centered around terror — it’s one big military wing.” Nevertheless, the prospect of labeling Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization is a step in the right direction, even if it doesn’t go as far as many would like.
For a motion labeling Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization to pass the unanimous support of all 27 EU member states is required.
By Rachel Avraham, staff writer for United With Israel

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