Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Lieberman on Monday sent a letter of protest to the European Union, calling for the body to include Hezbollah on its list of terror groups without delay.
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Experts on the Middle East and the war on terror from all 27 EU member countries met in Brussels last week. Britain, France, Germany and The Netherlands proposed a resolution to include the military wing of Hezbollah on the EU’s list of terror groups, however, the debate adjourned with no conclusion due to reservations from Ireland, Austria, and Sweden. Another discussion on the matter is expected to take place in Brussels later this month.
In his letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Lieberman decried lack of progress on the matter, noting that Hezbollah’s inclusion “would not only send a very strong message of ‘zero tolerance’ for the activities of this organization, but moreover and perhaps most importantly, their addition to the list means that Hezbollah will not be able to raise funds and garner support in Europe.
He also called the notion of separating Hezbollah’s military wing from its political wing "pathetic," saying it "serves no basis in reality."
“The current exclusion of an organization, which incites to and is actively involved in murder and hatred, on the list of terrorist organizations is a hypocrisy which cries out to the heavens,” Lieberman wrote. “It begs the question as to what other requirements, beyond the facts that are well known, are necessary for Hezbollah’s inclusion.”
In the letter, Lieberman lists a number of examples of Hezbollah’s involvement in terror on European soil, citing the report from a Bulgarian investigation that determined Hezbollah was likely responsible for last year’s terror bombing in Burgas, which killed a Bulgarian and five Israelis, and the recent conviction of a Hezbollah operative by a Cypriot court for his involvement in planning a terror attack against Israelis in Cyprus.
Lieberman also told Ashton that Germany is now one of the main centers for Hezbollah fund-raising, “with authorities there alleging that a handful of its approximately 900 members in Germany use proceeds from selling drugs to help finance the terrorist organization. In May 2008, German police recovered more than $13 million raised for Hezbollah, reportedly by selling cocaine throughout Europe.”
Lieberman also noted that Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war has led both Bahrain and Egypt to classify it as a terror group.
“The decision made by the EU on the fourth of this month raises many questions. The most important of which is about the readiness of the EU to combat terrorism and how Israel can rely on European promises to guarantee its security,” Lieberman wrote.
“In light of the above, I believe that there are many obvious reasons to include Hezbollah on the EU list of terrorist organizations and there remains no satisfactory explanation for not doing so,” he concluded. “The exclusion of Hezbollah from the list of proscribed terrorist organizations is a capitulation to terrorism, with all that entails.”