NEW YORK, May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Calls by Britain, France and Germany for the European Union (EU) to formally designate the "military wing" of Hezbollah a terrorist organization are an important first step to impose EU sanctions on the Lebanon-based, Iranian-supported group.
An EU working group on terrorism is expected to discuss the proposal in June, setting the stage for formal action by the 27 EU member states.
"This is a welcome first step for major European countries, which until now have been hesitant to respond to the reality of Hezbollah as a global terrorist organization," said American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris.
"The ideal decision, of course, would be for the 27 EU members to conclude – as the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands already have done – that Hezbollah cannot be bifurcated into so-called political and military wings. It is a single entity, with a unified leadership," said Harris. "But if the EU can mobilize next month to finally take action against Hezbollah on European soil, this will be a positive step toward cracking down on the terrorist organization, including its support network across Europe."
AJC has long called for concerted punitive actions against Hezbollah, which has carried out fatal terror attacks in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, launched barrages of rockets against Israel, and is fighting alongside the forces of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that has killed more than 80,000 Syrians.
The Hezbollah bus bombing in Bulgaria last July, which left six dead, and the conviction in March of a Hezbollah operative in Cyprus, brought to the fore the organization's European network and its direct threat to European citizens.
Britain, which already had recognized the "military wing" of Hezbollah as a terrorist group, recently proposed that the EU adopt a similar stance. Both France and Germany this week agreed with London's position.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee