On June 4, the European Union once again decided that it would decline to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and would refrain from adding it to the EU’s list of proscribed terrorist groups.
The decision came in the wake of a determination by the Bulgarian authorities that Hezbollah was behind last year’s deadly terrorist attack on Israeli citizens in the Black Sea resort town of Burgas.
European citizens now have decided to take action and have organized an online petition calling on EU institutions to designate Hezbollah as a terror group.
One wonders why an effort by European citizens is needed before their political leaders become convinced that Hezbollah belongs to the class of terrorist organizations.
After all, even the Arab countries have started to recognize that Hezbollah is a terrorist group. Six Gulf states, united in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), now say they see Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, according to the Bahraini foreign minister Ghanem al-Buainain, speaking last week during a meeting of the GCC.
Others in the Arab world agree. Here is what the editors of the Saudi Gazette wrote following the GCC meeting:
“Indeed, by rushing to fight alongside Assad’s faltering army and Shabiha militiamen, this terror group has allied itself with a government that has sought and failed to terrorize its own people into obedience’
“When Syria is free, Hezbollah will be alone and isolated in its south Lebanon territory. Its murderous and malign influence in the country will be challenged by moderate Lebanese, who are fed up with its strutting thugs and the obstruction of its leaders in the country’s delicate political process. The time is past when the Hezbollah leadership can pose as a champion of the Arab cause. Thanks to its slavish support for Iran and Syria, it has actually defined itself as an enemy of the Arab world in general and the Palestinian cause in particular”.
The EU used the excuse that placing Hezbollah on its list of terror organizations would destabilize Lebanon. The fact of the matter is, however, that Hezbollah has already thoroughly destabilized Lebanon by its participation in the Assad regime’s mass murder of Syrians.
France, a member state of the EU, announced recently – based on information obtained by its intelligence services – that Hezbollah has based some 4,000 of its fighters in Syria.
By its participation in the Syrian civil war, Hezbollah has imported additional sectarian violence into Lebanon. As a result, the country once again teeters on the brink of civil war.
But there is another reason why the EU should have put Hezbollah on its terror list long ago.
In 2006, Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets, indiscriminately and at times deliberately, at civilian areas in northern Israel, according to a Human Rights Watch report from August 2007. Hezbollah rockets killed at least 39 Israeli civilians during that conflict, and inflicted moderate or serious injuries on 101 more. They struck three hospitals, an elementary school in Kiryat Yam, and a post office in Haifa.
Hezbollah’s rocket campaign crippled economic activity and daily life in much of northern Israel, forcing several hundred thousand civilians to either flee south or to hide in shelters and “safe rooms”, wrote the New York-based HRW in its report.
It added that “statements by leaders in the military chain of command indicating intent to fire indiscriminately toward civilian areas are evidence of war crimes”.
This along with additional evidence of Hezbollah’s terrorist activities including, for instance, its culpability in the 2005 terrorist attack that assassinated former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri, were not enough for the EU to blacklist Hezbollah.
The question now is, what will?