German politicians urge EU to blacklist Hezbollah

Mideast specialist says Lebanese organization "qualifies" to be designated a terrorist entity on all accounts.

EU building 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Vincent Kessler)
EU building 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Vincent Kessler)
BERLIN – After Bulgaria’s interior minister said last week that Hezbollah operatives were involved in last year’s deadly terror attack on the European country’s soil, a number of German politicians have called for a ban of the Lebanese terrorist group.
The July bombing of an Israeli tour bus in Burgas caused the deaths of five passengers and their Bulgarian bus driver. Over 30 Israelis sustained injuries.
“Hezbollah belongs on the EU terror list,” said Elmar Brok of the conservative Christian Democratic Union and chairman of the European parliament’s foreign affairs committee. He was quoted in the Hamburger Abendblatt paper, along with leading German expert on terrorism Dr. Guido Steinberg.
Steinberg, a Mideast specialist with the Berlin-based Foundation for Science and Politics, said that based on the EU preconditions for designating a body a terrorist entity, “Hezbollah qualifies on all accounts.”
The legal standard for including an entity on the EU terror list states that whoever carries out a terror attack on the life or well-being of a person or causes considerable damage to a private institution can be outlawed within the EU.
France, Italy, Cyprus, Malta, Sweden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration have resisted labeling Hezbollah a terror group.
In a statement to The Jerusalem Post, Philipp Missfelder, a member of the Bundestag and spokesman on foreign affairs for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, said, “Terrorism is part of the core of Hezbollah’s strategy.
Since its establishment in 1982, Hezbollah’s stated aim has been to destroy the State of Israel. The death of five Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver nonetheless represents a new dimension in the radical Shi’ite militia’s armed struggle.”
He said an EU ban would “hit the militia where it hurts by freezing its assets and flow of funds in Europe, which would deprive Hezbollah of the financial basis for further acts of terrorism.”
Blasting Hezbollah for its global terrorism, he pointed out that “worldwide, Hezbollah has murdered more than 1,000 civilians and UN peace-keepers in suicide attacks and bombings. High-ranking Hezbollah members were also charged with being responsible for the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.”
Die Welt quoted the spokesman of the Free Democratic Party, MP Rainer Stinner, as saying that if it could be proven that Hezbollah’s entire organization and its leadership had actively planned the terror attack, “then this organization must be included in the list of terrorism organizations.”
Ruprecht Polenz of the CDU, who chairs the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, stated that “should the accusations against Hezbollah harden that the group was responsible for the attack in Bulgaria, I would be for a common EU move to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”