The EU should proscribe Hezbollah
- in its entirety
23rd July 2013
The decision of EU foreign ministers on 22nd July to proscribe the 'military'
wing of Hezbollah will not stop the terrorist activities of the group in
Europe. Only a proscription of Hezbollah in its entirety - including
both 'military' and 'political' wings - will achieve this objective.
The partial proscription might even be welcomed by the 'Party of God' -
it means that the EU, for now, will not prevent it from continuing with
its 'political' activities in Europe.
While the EU makes a distinction between the different 'wings',
Hezbollah itself does not. Deputy Secretary General, Naim Qassem,
emphasised this when, on 6th October 2012, at a graduation ceremony at
UNESCO Palace in Beirut, he said '[...] we don't have a military wing
and a political one; we don't have Hezbollah on the one hand and the
resistance party on the other ...'
The Bulgarian authorities have identified Hezbollah as responsible for
the Burgas airport bombing that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian
bus driver in July 2012. The organisation has left a trail of
destruction in its wake on European soil that precedes that terror
outrage. The group is directly responsible for some of the most
egregious terror attacks in Europe including a 1984 bombing in Spain
that killed 18 and injured 83; a wave of bombings in France between 1985
and 1986, which killed 13 and left hundreds more injured and the 1985
hijacking of TWA flight 847 in Greece.
In addition, in March 2013, a Cypriot court convicted a Swedish Lebanese
citizen, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, arrested days before the Burgas bombing,
on charges of planning attacks against Israeli tourists.
In order to make the proscription of the 'military' wing something other
than a paper tiger, we urge the EU and national authorities to commit to
monitor closely the fundraising activities of the hundreds of Hezbollah
charities that operate in different European countries. It should set in
place conditions that, if evidence emerges the so-called 'political'
wing is complicit in supporting or engaging in acts of terrorism with
the 'military' wing, the case for a designation of the organisation in
its entirety can be re-opened. When foreign ministers meet to discuss
the issue in six months' time, they should include such an assessment as
a critical part of their deliberations.
The evidence is clear and irrefutable. We urge EU member states to
proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety, as have Bahrain, Canada, Israel,
The Netherlands and the US.