(photo credit: Khalil Hassan/Reuters)
Now that the EU has decided to designate Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist
organization, Israel will begin providing EU law enforcement officials with
intelligence material so they can enforce the decision, Israeli diplomatic
officials said Tuesday.
Law enforcement authorities, homeland security
officials and intelligence agencies in the EU’s 28 countries will need a
plethora of information to make sure that Hezbollah’s military wing does not
continue to operate on the continent, the officials added.
“There is no
need to have this type of engagement with the British, who were pushing this
matter and are well aware of the intelligence,” the officials said. “But with
countries like Germany, France and Spain, who are new at this, all types of
information will have to be shared.”
While up until now the intelligence
was shared with EU decision-makers so they would finally agree to blacklist
Hezbollah, now the focus will be on those bodies that need to enforce the
Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor commended
the EU’s move, but noted it came after decades of allowing Hezbollah to operate
freely on European soil.
“At long last, having realized how dangerous
Hezbollah is and what it is capable of, the EU showed up late to the party to
condemn the ‘Party of God,’” he quipped with signature sarcasm, playing on the
English translation of the name “Hezbollah.”
He said that Hezbollah was
“as sophisticated as it is interconnected,” adding that “any attempt to
distinguish between Hezbollah’s military wing and political wing, while
politically convenient, is entirely impractical.
“Not even Harry Houdini
could pull off the illusion that there is a difference between these two
groups,” he said.
“Europe took a significant step in the right direction,
but it must go one step further and demonstrate its unequivocal condemnation of
Prosor, speaking at an open debate on the Middle East in the
Security Council, also slammed the EU for publishing new guidelines restricting
engagement with Israeli entities beyond the Green Line.
“While the United
States has been working to bring the parties back to the negotiation table, the
EU prefers to table harmful and divisive measures. Just as a window of
opportunity opened for the resumption of talks, the EU seemed intent on slamming
it shut,” he said. “Instead of setting a course towards peace, the EU is
steering the Palestinians in the wrong direction.”
Minister Ze’ev Elkin had a similar message for Elmar Brok, the German visiting
chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
said the European decision is liable to prevent a continuation of
Israeli-European cooperation, and that it was unacceptable to dictate to Israel
that after it paid money to participate in various European funds and programs,
money coming from those funds back to Israel could not then be used by Jerusalem
wherever it wishes.
During the UN debate, the Palestinian representative
Riyad Mansour praised the EU move, saying it helps the peace
Despite US Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that the
two sides would soon begin direct negotiations, Mansour lashed out at Israel,
accusing it of “war crimes” that include the expropriation of land, supporting
extremists engaged in terror against Palestinians in the West Bank, and
deporting people from their lands.
The settlements, he said, were the
“main obstacle to peace” and were torpedoing efforts toward a two state