BERLIN – The Belgian Foreign Ministry has rejected the idea of classifying
Hezbollah as a terrorist organization but is, however, open to penalties against
parts of it.
“We believe that it could make sense, instead of qualifying
Hezbollah as a whole, to isolate armed subgroups, or individuals. This method
has proven its merits, and deserves a try,” Michel Malherbe, a spokesman for the
Belgium ministry, wrote to The Jerusalem Post by email on
“Belgium is of course not naïve. We don’t have own personnel on
site, yet we perfectly realize that Hezbollah has, to say the least, a dubious,
shady side. However, we also know that we can only weigh on the situation
through a coherent European position. To that end, we will not increase
polarization among the 27 member states of the EU, but, to the contrary,
reinforce the majority view,” the spokesman added.
European view is the fact that Hezbollah is also a player on the political scene
in Lebanon. Syria is already in flames; condemning Hezbollah in its totality
could aggravate the regional situation. You may also be aware that Belgium still
contributes troops to UNIFIL,” the UN force is southern Lebanon, Malherbe
Asked about Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah’s anti-Semitic remarks
and whether they met the EU definition of modern anti-Semitism, the spokesman
declined to comment.
Nasrallah reportedly said, “If we searched the
entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche,
mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice I do
not say the Israeli.”
France is widely viewed as the main obstacle among
the main European powers to designating Hezbollah as a terrorist
In late October, the Obama administration counterterrorism
chief, John O. Brennan, lambasted the Europeans for their failure to
outlaw Hezbollah. “Let me be clear” that European opposition to a ban “makes it
harder to defend our countries and protect our citizens,” Brennan said, speaking
The German Foreign Ministry told the Post that it was
“considering” a ban of Hezbollah. Germany has experienced a rise to 950
Hezbollah members in 2012.
The Dutch and British foreign ministers
recently advocated placing Hezbollah on the EU terror list. Hezbollah is
already illegal as a group in the Netherlands. The United Kingdom has only
banned its armed wing.
US and Israeli officials believe a joint
Hezbollah-Iranian operation was behind the suicide bombing of an Israeli tour
bus Bulgaria in July, resulting in the deaths of five Israelis and the Bulgarian