Bibi with EU Ambassador 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
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
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.
“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
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
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.
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
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.
has been listed as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, Canada,
Australia, the Netherlands and, most recently, Bahrain.
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