Austrian parliament urges chancellor clamp down on Hezbollah

Call for EU to reassess how to deal with terrorist entity regarding security of Israel

A general view of a session of the parliament in Vienna, Austria, January 10, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/ LEONHARD FOEGER)
A general view of a session of the parliament in Vienna, Austria, January 10, 2020
BERLIN - All political parties in Austria’s federal parliament on Tuesday passed a resolution calling on Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government to exhaust all legal methods to stop Hezbollah’s criminal and terrorist activities.
However, the parliament measure stopped short of urging a total ban of Hezbollah’s entire movement within the EU and the central European country.
Austria’s National Council—the formal name of the country’s parliament—asked the federal government to “to take suitable and effective measures to continue to take decisive action against terrorist and criminal activities by Hezbollah supporters in Austria using the entire rule of law; to prevent Hezbollah from being financed through money laundering activities; to re-asses the question of how to deal with Hezbollah within the European Union."
Reinhold Lopatka, an MP for Kurz’s Austrian People’s Party and Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, an MP for the conservative chancellor’s coalition partner, the Green Party,  announced in connection with the anti-Hezbollah resolution that they “recognize the historical responsibility of Austria toward the State of Israel. The existence of Israel should never be questioned.
In order to guarantee the security of the State of Israel in the future, the European Union must once again deal with Hezbollah.”
The resolution was titled “Effective action against Hezbollah.”
Hezbollah demanded in its 1985 manifesto Israel’s “obliteration from existence.”
The resolution noted that “According to experts, Hezbollah is also financed itself via drug, goods and weapons smuggling in order to maintain and expand its military capacity to act, including in neighboring Syria.”
Austria and the European Union have merely classified Hezbollah’s so-called “military wing” a terrorist entity. The US, England, the Netherlands, the Arab League, Israel and a number of Latin American countries designated Hezbollah’s entire movement a terrorist organization. Hezbollah’s leadership admits this, declaring itself a unified organization without political and military wings.
The Austrian parliament rejected on Tuesday an initiative of the NEOS party to consider a full ban of Hezbollah.
The Jerusalem Post reported in December that Austrian NEOS MP Helmut Brandstätter introduced a parliamentary initiative to with respect to a government ban of the entire Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah in Austria.
“The Federal Government, in particular the Foreign Minister, is asked to examine whether it is appropriate and productive to classify the whole of Hezbollah in Austria a terrorist organization and implement the same on the EU level,” wrote Brandstätter.
On Saturday, the Post reported that prosecutors in the Austrian state of Carinthia have started a trial against an alleged Hezbollah commander who spent 13 years in Austria while reportedly being involved in financing terrorism.