Germany backs blacklisting Hezbollah military wing

Sources say Westerwelle supports terror label for group; German position based on Cypriot progress in analyzing terrorist activity.

Guido Westerwelle (photo credit: Reuters)
Guido Westerwelle
(photo credit: Reuters)
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle decided Wednesday to support listing Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization in the European Union, according to German diplomatic sources.
"In the light of discussions we have had with our partners following the terrorist attack in Burgas, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle supports listing at least the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in the EU," the officials said.
"The German position is based on an increasingly clearer picture of the facts and on the progress achieved by Cypriot authorities in analyzing terrorist activities," they continued. "Minister Westerwelle hopes that the necessary consultations within the EU can be concluded rapidly."
Germany’s interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich recently sent letters to his counterparts in Cyprus and Bulgaria, seeking additional material for a ban of Hezbollah.
Bulgaria’s government accused two Hezbollah operatives of blowing up the Israeli tour bus last summer. In March, a criminal court in Limassol, Cyprus, sentenced Hossam Taleb Yaacoub to four years for plotting to kill Israeli tourists on the island.
The United Kingdom submitted a formal application to the EU on Monday to commence talks in June to ban the military wing of Hezbollah. The UK outlawed Hezbollah’s military wing in 2008. The Netherlands along with Israel, Bahrain, Canada and the US have also banned Hezbollah’s entire organization.
Wednesday's announcement followed a meeting between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and her Germany counterpart Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger on Tuesday night, in which the former asked that Germany support the initiative to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Germany has seen an increase in Hezbollah activities in the Federal Republic since 2010. According to the country’s domestic intelligence agency, the number of members increased from 900 in 2010 to 950 in 2011.
A report from the The European Foundation for Democracy titled  "Hizbullah's Fund-raising Organization in Germany," showed that  Orphans Project Lebanon (Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon e.V.), situated in Göttingen, Lower Saxony, is "the German branch of a Hizbullah suborganization" which "promotes suicide bombings" and seeks to destroy Israel.
The charity , according to the report, raises funds for the families of suicide bombers targeting Israel.
It is unclear whether Federal Republic plans to ban the Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon e.V.
The meeting of the two high-powered female justice ministers was the first major one of the German justice minister's visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, said a statement by the German Embassy.
Livni also raised Germany's proposed but stalled Ghetto Law - a law meant to lead to reparations to some 20,000 Holocaust survivors who worked in ghettos without pay during World War II.
She added that she hoped Germany could press onward with the law as any continued bureaucratic delays were significant as the population to who it could apply was dwindling and was also in sincere need of the additional financial aid that reparations would provide.
The German minister will also meet with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis on Wednesday as well as delivering a lecture at Hebrew University on "Law and Security."
The German minister will spend Thursday meeting with Palestinian officials. Staff and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.