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 Hezbollah flag. Credit: Hezbollah Flag/Wikimedia Commons.
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,” said 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. We especially wish to thank the United Kingdom for
its leadership, the Netherlands for its consistent stand, and Bulgaria and
Cyprus for the courage and principle they demonstrated in the past 12 months in
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.
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, Reuters reported.
“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.