Liberman: Stop 'pointless' dialogue with the EU

Former FM demands EU declare Hezbollah terror group; failure to do so would “make the EU irrelevant, as far as we’re concerned."

June 10, 2013 18:36
3 minute read.
Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman at press conference, March 18, 2013

Liberman 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Israel should not continue to let the European Union get involved in diplomatic affairs, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman said Monday after sending a sharply worded letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urging her to include Hezbollah in the EU list of terrorist groups.

Speaking at a committee meeting, Liberman called the EU decision not to add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations “hypocrisy incarnate,” which would “make the EU irrelevant, as far as we’re concerned, when it comes to dealing with the region.”

“We need to stop our dialogue with the EU,” Liberman declared at a press briefing later Monday. “We have a continued dialogue with Europe about Lebanon, Sinai, Egypt; it’s pointless.”

According to Liberman, the EU makes demands of Israel in relation to peace talks, but does nothing in return.

“How does Europe contribute to Israeli security? I keep saying we need to cut them off. There are problems in Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea. Why focus on the Palestinians? They need to broaden their diplomatic horizons,” he stated.

In his letter to Ashton, Liberman listed several terrorist attacks and incidents involving Hezbollah, including assisting Syrian President Bashar Assad massacre his people, the bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria last summer, planning an attack on Cyprus and the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

These facts necessitate the inclusion of Hezbollah in the list of terrorist organizations to send a message of zero tolerance and prevent the group from raising funds in Europe, Liberman wrote.

“The current exclusion of an organization, which incites to and is actively involved in murder and hatred, on the list of terrorist organizations is hypocrisy which cries out to the heavens. It begs the question as to what other requirements, beyond the facts that are well known, are necessary for Hezbollah’s inclusion,” the letter reads.

Liberman added that Hezbollah has a growing presence in Europe, with $13 million raised in Germany in 2008 alone by selling cocaine.

The Yisrael Beytenu leader also took issue with countries separating Hezbollah’s military and political wings, calling it “pathetic and serving no basis in reality.”

“Both the decisions on the execution of terrorist acts and political decisions, like for example who will be on the list of candidates for the Lebanese parliament, arrive from the same source, the mass murderer, Hassan Nasrallah,” Liberman wrote.

“The decision made by the EU on the fourth of this month raises many questions,” he added. “The most important of which is about the readiness of the EU to combat terrorism and how Israel can rely on European promises to guarantee its security.”

Contrary to his statements in the press briefing, Liberman ended his letter thanking Ashton for the “frank and ongoing dialogue” between them.

Although Liberman in his letter said the EU had taken a decision on June 4 not to include Hezbollah on its terrorist list, an EU official said no final decision was taken, and that a meeting last week on the matter in Brussels was only a preliminary discussion.

The official said that another meeting on the matter will be held later this month.

The official also pointed out that a decision to place Hezbollah on the EU’s terrorist list will need to be agreed upon by all 27 EU countries. The decision, therefore, is not in Ashton’s hands.

Last week Israeli government officials blamed Ireland, supported by Finland and Sweden, for leading opposition to the move.

Britain, which in the past held contacts with what it calls Hezbollah’s “political wing,” launched efforts last month to get the EU to blacklist the group’s “military wing.” These efforts picked up momentum in recent weeks because of Hezbollah’s increased involvement in the Syrian civil war.

The June 4 meeting held at the “working level” was the first formal meeting on the British request.

Israel has unsuccessfully been urging the EU to blacklist Hezbollah since the mid- 1990s.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN

Cookie Settings