EU politics affecting blacklisting Hezbollah

Officials say resistance to mark Hezbollah as terror organization is due to EU lifting Syria arms embargo.

By
June 25, 2013 01:21
2 minute read.
Prime Minister with the EU Ambassador

Bibi with EU Ambassador 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)

 
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 experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • 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

Resistance by some European Union countries to placing Hezbollah’s armed wing on the EU’s terrorist list is due more to internal EU politics than opposition in principle to the move, according to both EU and Israeli officials.

According to the officials, the opposition of the Czech Republic – perhaps the most friendly country to Israel inside the EU and the only one that voted against granting non-member statehood status to the Palestinians at the UN in November – has to do in part at frustration with the way France and Britain succeeded against the will of the majority member states in May to lift the EU’s arms embargo on Syria.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“The impression is that there is a degree of settling accounts with the big European countries because of what happened regarding the Syrian arms issue,” one senior Israeli official said.

A European official confirmed this impression and added that the Czechs, and other smaller EU countries, were annoyed at the way Britain and France “rammed through” the Syrian sanctions.

The EU arms embargo on Syria was not extended in May because a consensus could not be reached on the matter.

European and Israeli officials said that – in addition to the Czech Republic – Ireland, Austria, Poland, Finland and Slovakia have reservations about placing Hezbollah on the terrorist blacklist for a variety of different reasons. The 27 EU countries were unable to come up with an agreement on the matter at two working group meetings held earlier this month.

One official said that the EU countries pressing hardest for the inclusion of Hezbollah’s military wing on the list – Britain, the Netherlands, France and Germany – have “divided up the labor” in lobbying the stubborn countries to support the step.



For example, Britain and France are focusing on softening Irish opposition.

One of Ireland’s concerns is that its large UNIFIL (UN Interim Force in Lebanon) contingent would be the target of retribution were they to support blacklisting Hezbollah. France, the officials said, is arguing that they too have a large UNIFIL contingent, but are still backing the proposal.

The Dutch are trying to convince the Poles, Czechs and Slovaks.

According to one official, some of the opposition is being couched in legalistic terms; regarding whether there is enough evidence to link Hezbollah to last years attack in Bulgaria.

Israeli officials said that with Ireland set to relinquish the rotating presidency of the EU to Lithuania on July 1, it may be a bit easier for countries pressing the Hezbollah proposal to get it moved forward.

Likewise, one European official said that the anniversary of the terrorist attack in Burgas on July 18 may be an opportune time for the Europeans to announce a decision on the matter.

Hezbollah has been listed as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and, most recently, Bahrain.

Related Content

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak during their meeting
August 18, 2018
Merkel, Putin tackle Syria and Iran in meeting outside Berlin

By REUTERS