Members of the European Union parliament sent a letter on Thursday to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, urging her to classify all of the Lebanese organization Hezbollah as a terrorist entity.
MEP Anders Vistisen, one of the three co-initiators of the letter, said:
“It’s outrageous that the European Union still has not denounced Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organisation. Hezbollah’s growing arsenal and entanglement in regional conflicts severely destabilises certain countries and the wider Middle East. It is high time to acknowledge that Islamist inspired terrorism is not only a threat to the Middle East, but is also the top threat to Europe’s security.”
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The letter was signed by a cross-section of 60 members of the European Parliament. The other two co-initiators were Lars Adaktusson and Péter Niedermüller.
MEP Adaktusson said, “In order to stop Hezbollah’s extensive terrorist activities, the EU approach has to change. Hezbollah is one united organization, and the EU policy cannot be based on a pretend division of this terrorist organization into a civilian and a military wing.”
The European Union, like the UK parliament, only designated Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist entity in 2012. The proscription of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization came in response to an attack by the organization on an Israeli tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria in 2012, which resulted in the deaths of five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver. An additional 32 Israelis were injured.
Israeli politician, Yair Lapid, was in Brussels at the time of the MEP letter submission and said: “As part of an ongoing effort led by myself and my friend congressman Ted Deutch [Democrat-Florida], I raised this issue today with the Ambassadors to the EU and with Foreign Minister Mogherini. Hezbollah is one entity and that entity is a terror organization. It is time for the European Union to ban the entirety of Hezbollah and stop the money, recruitment of terrorists and shows of public support which are taking place on European soil. This letter is a welcome initiative and sooner or later the European Union will have to do the right thing.”
Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) EU office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute, said “The broad, cross-party support this letter has received underscores the fact that there, is luckily, a growing realization in Europe that Hezbollah is a monumental threat not only to Syrians, Israelis and of course Lebanese, but ultimately also to European security.”
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“One can only hope that the EU will act upon this letter and change its policy on Hezbollah,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) EU office.
“The false distinction between so-called military and political wings is just that — a false distinction. By banning the group in its entirety, the EU would give itself the tools to track Hezbollah’s money flows and stop it from raising funds and recruits in Europe,” he added.