NEW YORK – Italy’s undersecretary of deputy of foreign affairs, Marta Dassù, stated last week that the Bulgarian investigation into the suicide bombing of an Israeli tour bus, which resulted in the deaths of five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver, is limited to the terrorism attack in Burgas, the seaside resort in Bulgaria.
Her position prompted criticism form Fiamma Nirenstein, a deputy in the Italian parliament, who told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that a strong signal is badly needed from Europe that Hezbollah is dangerous and needs to be included in the EU terror list. Nirenstein told the Post that the investigation of Hezbollah should include all of Hezbollah’s terrorism attacks over the years.
In response to a parliamentary question from the deputy, who is the vice chair of the Italian Foreign Affairs Committee, Dassù wrote, “the decision to include Hezbollah in the terrorism list of the European Union requires, as known, unanimity within the EU Council which has not yet been achieved for the purpose of such an inclusion.
"Currently, there is no forensic evidence proving the involvement of Hezbollah in the Burgas attack. It goes without saying that if evidence of its involvement in this or other terror attacks should arise, the current scenario would rapidly change.”
The Post obtained last week a translation of Dassù’s remarks.
She stressed that Hezbollah is also part of Lebanon’s government and listing of Hezbollah as a terror entity could have implications for Lebanon’s government.
Nirenstein expressed her “dissatisfaction with the Government representative’s reply” in a oral response to Dassù.
She said that she sharply disagrees with the “underlying approach that depicts this issue as concerning only Israel’s security and not global security at large.”
Nirenstein continued that Hezbollah is interfering in Syria and Hezbollah’s activity has contributed to the killing of over forty-five thousand people in Syria.
She further added that “the long series of attacks perpetrated by Hezbollah from 1983 until the Burgas massacre.”
Speaking to the Post from Jerusalem on Sunday via telephone, Nirenstein, said, “I am very worried that because the European governments in general, for diplomatic relations with Lebanon‚ refuse to take a position of Hezbollah becoming more and more dangerous.
"Hezbollah possesses tens of thousands of missiles. And there is information that they received chemical and biological weapons from Assad in Syria.”
She chastised Europe for failing to see Hezbollah and Palestinians as problems; she lamented that the Europeans shifted the blame to Israel “as the main source of the middle east problem.”
In a separate part of Dassù’s remarks, she responded to a report dealing with the public delegitimization of Israel. According to a report on the Italian public delegitimization of the State of Israel, which was cited at the foreign affairs meeting, Giovanni Quer, the study’s author, noted that the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported the “consolidation of the Palestinian University system” with a grant amounting to 986,000¤, allocated to academic institutions like An- Najah University, a place of activity and recruitment of terror groups, which held exhibitions glorifying suicide terrorism.“
Dassù flatly denied that the Italian government is funding anti-Israel NGOs, saying Italy “has always expressed firm condemnation of any kind of incitement to the hatred for Israel or stances denying the right of Israel to exist, by questioning its legitimacy.”
Dassù added Italy provides no “direct funding to academic institutions like An-Najah University.”
In an email to the Post, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, wrote. “Italy, like the EU and other European governments, provides millions of Euros to NGOs that promote political warfare and hatred of Israel under the facade of peace, democracy, human rights and humanitarian aid.
This recipients of these taxpayer funds are often chosen through secret processes and rarely discussed in parliaments or in the media, and the same true is for evaluations of NGO funding.”
Steinberg continued, “The report ‘How Much Does It Cost to Delegitimize Israel?,’ published by the Federazione Associazioni Italia Israele, details Italian government and regional funding for such activities, and the question posed by Deputy Nirenstein is pathbreaking and an example for every European government involved in such activities.”