Israeli officials expressed satisfaction Thursday that the question of placing Hezbollah on the EU’s terror
blacklist was expected to be discussed at a two-day summit of the leaders of the
27 European Union states that began Thursday evening in Brussels.
there was no expectation that any decision would be made at the meeting, one
official said the very fact that it would be discussed by the European leaders
was a step in the right direction.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine
Ashton said the Bulgarian investigation that pointed to Hezbollah involvement in
the 2012 Burgas attack that killed six people – including five Israelis – would
be assessed and discussed at the meeting.
Both European and Israeli
officials, however, cautioned against undue optimism that the EU would finally
place the organization on the terror list, something that would make it much
more difficult for Hezbollah to raise money and lobby for support inside
Rather, the officials said, various half steps might
be considered, such as placing the “military” wing of the organization on the
list, but not the “political” wing, something the British have already done on
In this way, one official explained, European countries would
be able to continue having contact with Hezbollah politicians and ministers in
the Lebanese government, while still being able to take measure to curtail
funding for the organization in Europe.
Another possibility may be to
place individuals on the list, as was done to Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah, in the
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has come out strongly against
dividing the organization into component parts, saying it is one organization
with one leadership.
Meanwhile, President François Hollande of France,
which has historically been the major EU country opposing placing Hezbollah on
the list, told World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder Wednesday that
France would study the evidence assembled by the Bulgarian investigators before
making any decision regarding the labeling of the Lebanese organization.