BERLIN/LONDON – Britain has filed a formal request to the European Union for
Hezbollah’s military wing to be included on its list of terrorist
A spokesman at the British Foreign Office told The
Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the request was submitted in light of the July
2012 terrorist attack in Bulgaria in which five Israeli tourists and their
Bulgarian bus driver were killed, and the recent conviction of a Hezbollah
operative in Cyprus for plotting to kill Israeli tourists.
calling for Europe to respond collectively and robustly following the atrocious
terrorist attack at Burgas airport and in light of the recent conviction of a
Hezbollah operative in Cyprus,” he said. “We have called for a meeting of the
CP931 working group to discuss the UK proposal for designation. We expect this
meeting to take place in coming weeks.”
The spokesman continued: “We
firmly believe that an appropriate EU response would be to designate Hezbollah’s
military wing as a terrorist organization.
This would be in line with our
national proscription of Hezbollah’s military wing.”
government accused two Hezbollah operatives of blowing up the Israeli tour bus.
In March, a criminal court in Limassol, Cyprus, sentenced Hossam Taleb Yaacoub
to four years for plotting to kill Israeli tourists on the island.
by the Post if the European Union’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, favors a ban
of Hezbollah’s military wing or its entire organization, her chief spokesperson,
Maja Kocijancic, said that “I am not in a position to comment on possible
proposals for designation.”
All amendments to the EU list of persons,
groups and entities involved in terrorist acts require the unanimous agreement
of all member states, she added.
The British Foreign Office also said
that it continues “to work closely with our European partners on this issue to
reach a robust, collective EU position.
EU designation under CP931 would
make it harder for HMW [Hezbollah’s military wing] to operate in Europe and
would therefore be a proactive step towards preventing any future attacks by
this terrorist organization on European soil.”
Asked why the UK did not
favor a ban of Hezbollah’s entire organization, he said that “The UK proscribed
Hezbollah’s External Security Organization in 2001, believing it to be concerned
with international terrorism. In 2008 the proscription was extended to include
the whole of Hezbollah’s military apparatus, namely the Jihad Council and all
the units reporting to it.
“We do not proscribe the political wing of the
organization, it is government policy not to discuss organizations which are not
on the proscribed list, including speculation on whether an organization is or
is not under consideration for proscription,” he said.
Critics within the
member state parliaments have urged the EU to outlaw Hezbollah’s entire
apparatus. British Labor MP Michael McCann said during a House of Commons debate
earlier this month that the “military wing” designation is not potent enough to
address either the Hezbollah threat or the Shiite’s groups’ chief sponsor, the
Islamic Republic of Iran.
“And they retain a clear and present military
danger to millions of Israeli men, women and children, with tens of thousands of
missiles pointed at major population centers,” he said.
could be launched with one word from their venal, anti-Semitic paymasters in
Tehran. It is clear that Hezbollah should be proscribed in its entirety by both
the UK government and the EU,” McCann said.
Philipp Missfelder, a member
of the German parliament and deputy spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
party in the Bundestag, has repeatedly called for the EU to blacklist Hezbollah
in its entirety.
Meanwhile, The Australian
newspaper reported that
Hezbollah has three active sleeper cells in Australia.
Radwan, a Sunni clerical leader in Tripoli, told the paper: “There are sleeper
cells for Hezbollah in Australia.
I warn your government about such a
thing, it is well known that they have sleeping cells like Abu Abbas, Abu Jafaar
and Zaiter. All these are operating on the Australian ground.”
to the Australian daily, Sheik Radwan said that because of intensified sanctions
pressure on Iran’s economy, Hezbollah engaged in increased narcotics and
prostitution enterprises to finance attacks such as the one in
Australia, like the United Kingdom, currently bans Hezbollah’s
Asked if Canberra plans to outlaw Hezbollah’s entire
organization in the wake of the sleeper cells revelation, a spokesperson from
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the Post: “The Australian
Government does not comment on intelligence matters. Australia does list the
whole organization of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization for the purposes of
targeted financial sanctions under the Charter of the UN Act 1945, pursuant to
UNSC Resolution 1373 on suppression of terrorism.
This listing has been
in place since December 2001.”
The spokesperson added: “the
Attorney-General also lists part of Hezbollah (its External Security
Organization, or ESO) as a terrorist organization under Australia’s domestic
Criminal Code Act listing regime. The ESO is a discrete branch within Hezbollah
responsible for the planning, coordination and execution of terrorist attacks
against its enemies outside of Lebanon.”
To date, the only countries to
have classified Hezbollah’s entire organization as a terrorist entity are
Canada, Israel, Bahrain, the Netherlands and the United States.
has played an integral part in propping up the Assad regime in Syria, prompting
calls for western intervention.
The 27 members of the EU are set to
discuss Hezbollah’s status in June.