Kick Me: European Union Backs Iran's Hezbollah
These measures indicate that Western Governments are aware of the threat Hezbollah poses to Western security. Nevertheless for reasons of appeasement, they refuse to declare the organization a terrorist group -- a classification which would allow the blocking of Hezbollah funds and the seizure of its assets.
The Lebanon-based Islamic organization Hezbollah is one of the most dangerous groups in the world. Recently, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah incited violence against American and European interests over the movie The Innocence of Muslims. And yet, the European Union refuses to follow America's example and classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – a move that would enable the EU to freeze the group's assets in Europe.
Several people, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, have been killed, ostensibly in retaliation for the movie, which is perceived to be critical of Muhammad, the 7th century Arab warlord who founded Islam. Instead of calling for calm, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah called for prolonged protests: "The whole world needs to see your anger on your faces, in your fists and your shouts."
Hezbollah is also involved in terrorist activities in Syria. During a meeting on September 7 in Paphos, Cyprus, the foreign ministers of the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) discussed the situation in Syria, including the position which the EU should take regarding Hezbollah. While Britain and the Netherlands urged other EU governments to join the United States in imposing sanctions on Hezbollah, they were unable to convince the other EU members. Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said that Hezbollah should, further, be branded a terrorist organization; he was, however, was isolated with this stance.
This does not come as a surprise, considering the EU's earlier refusal to condemn Hezbollah for terrorism. Last July, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the EU capital, Brussels, to persuade the EU to follow America's example and classify Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Lieberman met with resistance – a lot. He was attempting to isolate Hezbollah after the July 18 suicide bombing at the airport of the Bulgarian coastal resort of Burgas – an attack, and clearly a terrorist one – in which five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed.
According to Israeli and American intelligence sources, the terrorist attack was the work of Hezbollah, upon orders from Iran. Nevertheless, the Cypriot minister of Foreign Affairs, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, who currently holds the rotating EU presidency said that there is "no tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism;" hence, there was "no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations." He emphasized that Hezbollah was an organization with a political as well as an armed wing and that it has representatives in the Lebanese parliament and government.
In 2008, the Netherlands declared Hezbollah and all its branches terrorist entities. Britain considers only its armed wing a terrorist group. Consequently, Hezbollah can operate freely all over Europe, except in the Netherlands. Apart from the Netherlands and the United States, only Canada, Australia and New Zealand have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist group. The European Parliament did the same in a 2005 resolution, but as the latter was non-binding the EU has ignored it.
Jacob Campbell, a researcher at the British Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, told the Jerusalem Post: "Within just days of the Burgas bombing – almost undoubtedly perpetrated by Hezbollah – the Presidency of the EU Council explicitly ruled out the possibility of listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, insisting that there is no 'tangible evidence' to link Hezbollah to terrorism. This ludicrous statement was made despite an earlier resolution adopted by the European Parliament, which cites 'clear evidence' of terrorist acts committed by Hezbollah. On this issue, as in so many others, Brussels appears to have its head buried firmly in the sand."
France is one of the countries that oppose the efforts to blacklist Hezbollah. France, the former colonial power in Lebanon, wants to preserve its diplomatic influence in that country. In 2011, Najib Mikati, a Hezbollah-backed politician, became Prime Minister of Lebanon after Hezbollah toppled the previous government. Even deadly attacks by Hezbollah on French nationals have not persuaded the French government to designate the group as terrorist. Last year, Alain Juppé, the then Foreign Minister of France, accused Hezbollah of attacking French U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon. However, with Hezbollah constituting part of the Lebanese establishment, the French are reluctant to act against it.
The German government, too, refuses to draw the obvious conclusion regarding Hezbollah, although the German domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesverfassungsschutz, has warned that Hezbollah has over 900 active members in Germany. In 2008, the German Interior Ministry restricted the reception of the programs of the Hezbollah television station Al-Manar in German hotels. Al-Manar is used by Hezbollah to recruit terrorists and communicate with sleeper cells around the globe.
These measures indicate that Western governments are aware of the danger Hezbollah poses to Western security. Nevertheless, for reasons of appeasement they refuse to take the necessary action to declare the organization a terrorist group – a classification which would allow the blocking of Hezbollah funds and the seizure of its assets.
Meanwhile, one can only hope that the new government in the Netherlands, in which the pro-Palestinian Labor Party is likely to participate, does not reverse the current Dutch policies. The courageous stance of the past Dutch government and its willingness to face the facts, has led to a more realistic view on the part of ordinary Dutch citizens regarding politics in the Middle East. A recent poll showed that the Dutch are far more positive towards Israel than they were nine years ago. In 2003, 71% of the Dutch regarded Israel as a "threat to world peace," while today this percentage has dwindled to 35%, with 36% regarding the Palestinian Authority as a threat to peace.
Reader comments on this item
|Gaining the Upper Hand Over the Iran-Hezbollah Axis [140 words]||Niklas Anzinger||Sep 27, 2012 05:52|
|None So Blind [31 words]||Mark Rogers||Sep 26, 2012 10:14|
|Hezbollah and its stance in the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. [70 words]||Batya Casper, Israelathebook.com||Sep 25, 2012 17:44|
|Hypocrites [43 words]||Doug Klein||Sep 25, 2012 10:03|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz