Belgium rejects putting Hezbollah on EU terror list

Brussels prefers isolating armed subgroups or individuals to classifying Hezbollah as a whole as a terrorist organization.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
November 9, 2012 00:54
2 minute read.
Hezbollah supporters in Beirut [file]

Hezbollah supporters in Beirut 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

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 Thursday.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“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.

“Affecting that 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 said.

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 organization.



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 in Dublin.

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 bus driver.

Related Content

Angela Merkel gestures during a cabinet meeting in Berlin
July 21, 2018
Exclusive: German intelligence contradicts Merkel on Iran's nuclear drive

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL