Germany now supports including Hezbollah's militant wing on the European Union's list of terrorist organizations, German diplomats said on Wednesday. Senior Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem said that Germany has updated Israel on her new position.
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"In the light of discussions we have had with our partners following the terrorist attack in Burgas, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle supports listing at least the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in the EU," the German government said, referring to the July 2012 bumbing in which five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed and 32 Israelis were wounded.
"The German position is based on an increasingly clearer picture of the facts and on the progress achieved by Cypriot authorities in analyzing terrorist activities. Minister Westerwelle hopes that the necessary consultations within the EU can be concluded rapidly," the government added in its statement.
This change in position comes after long months of the German government's disapproval of the move. Germany claimed it had not received sufficient evidence from the Bulgarian government, from Israel or from the U.S. that would enable them to support blacklisting Hezbollah, or parts of it. The Germans explained they would need evidence that would stand in a German court.
Foreign Ministry officials said that Germany is expected to help the U.K., the Netherlands and other EU members to promote the issue. Germany's support for the move is likely to increase support among other states.
According to a Tuesday report by the AFP, the British have officially requested that the EU place Hezbollah’s military wing on its list of terror organizations. The U.K. wants to raise the matter for discussion, leading to a decision at the June meeting of the council of EU foreign ministers.
Also Tuesday, senior Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem told Haaretz that Hezbollah's increased involvement in the civil war in Syria and the aid it is giving to President Bashar Assad’s regime, is spurring support in the EU to blacklist the group.
The Bulgarian government report on its investigation on the Burgas attack, which determined that Hezbollah was responsible, has increased pressure to place the group on the terror list. The trial of a Hezbollah operative who had planned an attack on Israeli tourists in Cyprus, which uncovered a great deal of information about the group’s activities in Europe, has also expedited the process.
Over the past few months, Israel has approached all 27 EU members seeking their support in placing Hezbollah on the terror list, with only partial success. France, Germany, Italy, Spain and other countries said they were concerned that the move would adversely affect stability in Lebanon and compromise the safety of their soldiers serving in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in southern Lebanon.