'Refusal to blacklist Hezbollah could affect ME'

Liberman says EU refusal to place Hezbollah on list of terror groups will have “severe ramifications” for Middle East stability.

Lieberman 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Lieberman 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The European Union’s refusal to place Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations will have “severe ramifications” for Middle East stability and global security, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday in Brussels.
His comments came a day after Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said at a press conference with Liberman that there was “no consensus among the EU member states for putting Hezbollah on the terrorist list.”
Liberman, who said in an Israel Radio interview Wednesday that there was substantial support inside the EU for the move, told Ashton that “everyone knows who and what the Hezbollah organization is, and all are aware of the criminal and terrorist activities it perpetrates.”
The decision to place Hezbollah on the terror blacklist needs agreement from all 27 EU countries, something Israel has been working at – so far unsuccessfully – since the mid 1990s.
According to a statement from his office, Liberman also told Ashton that previous peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors were not between the people, but between Israel and the rulers of those countries.
He said these agreements did not facilitate reconciliation between people or build a peace based on sturdy foundations. Future agreements, to work, need first to get the support of the public and opinion makers, he said.
Liberman’s meeting with Ashton followed Tuesday’s annual EU-Israel Association Council meeting.
The EU issued a statement about that meeting on Wednesday that, alongside a reiteration of the EU’s “fundamental commitment to Israel’s security,” included a litany of complaints against Israeli policy.
“The EU expresses deep concern about developments on the ground which threaten to make a two-state solution impossible, such as, inter alia, the marked acceleration of settlement construction, ongoing evictions of Palestinians and the demolition of their housing and infrastructure in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, the worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population and serious limitations for the Palestinian Authority to promote the economic development of Palestinian communities, in particular in Area C,” the statement read.
It also said the EU was concerned about reports of a possible resumption of construction of the security barrier, “because the EU considers that the separation barrier where built on occupied land is illegal under international law, constitutes an obstacle to peace and threatens to make a two-state solution impossible.”
The statement also expressed “deep concern” about settler extremism; called for the immediate opening of crossings for aid, commercial goods and people to and from Gaza; wished for “intra-Palestinian reconciliation”; and encouraged Israel to “increase efforts to address the economic and social situation of the Arab minority.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said it was “disappointing to observe that the EU, instead of publishing a review that summarizes the discussion, chose to publish an agglutination of complaints and grievances.”