BRUSSELS—Sixty members of the European Parliament have called on the European Union to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization. The move came as Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid met Thursday with EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and urged the EU to add Hezbollah’s political wing on its list of terror groups ‘’which would make it significantly harder for the organization to raise and transfer funds worldwide.’’
While the EU officially added Hezbollah’s military wing to its terror list in 2013, it does not consider its political wing a terror organization.
“The EU needs to know that there is no separation between the political wing and the military wing of Hezbollah,” Lapid told Mogherini. “Hezbollah’s political wing is their conduit for transferring money, and we are determined to stop it.”
Lapid also met with dozens of ambassadors to the European Union in order to enlist their support for the move.
A letter to Mogherini, co-initiated by MEPs Anders Vistisen (ECR), Lars Adaktusson (EPP) and Péter Niedermüller (S&D), makes clear that while listing the so-called military wing in 2013 was a step in the right direction, distinguishing between the group’s supposed “military” and “political” wings is “illogical” and rejected even by Hezbollah itself.
“The broad, cross-party support this letter has received underscores the fact that there is luckily a growing realization in Europe that Hezbollah is a monumental threat not only to Syrians, Israelis and of course Lebanese, but ultimately also to European security,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) EU office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute. “One can only hope that the EU will act upon this letter and change its policy on Hezbollah. The false distinction between so-called military and political wings is just that–a false distinction. By banning the group in its entirety, the EU would give itself the tools to track Hezbollah’s money flows and stop it from raising funds and recruits in Europe,” Schwammenthal said.
The letter goes on to outline the serious threat Hezbollah poses in the region and beyond: The group’s stockpiling of some 120,000 missiles in violation of UN Security Resolution 1701, its collaboration in Assad’s war crimes and its network of agents and sympathizers throughout Europe.
“In light of the above and Europe’s strong commitment against intolerance and terrorism, we firmly urge the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council to proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety. Only by recognizing the organization’s true nature may we be successful in protecting Europe and our common values,” the letter concludes.