Pressure on the EU is mounting to declare Hezbollah a terror entity. The Times of Israel reports a senior Bulgarian official on Monday called on the European Union to adopt harsher measures against Hezbollah in light of his country’s finding that the Lebanese Shiite group was responsible for a terror attack that killed five Israelis and a local bus driver in the coastal town of Burgas last summer.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the EU’s foreign ministers in Brussels, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov implicitly but unmistakably urged the union to designate Hezbollah a terrorist group.
Asked whether the EU should blacklist Hezbollah, he responded: ”Given the fact that we’ve already made quite firm statements about where we believe the responsibility for that attack lies, I think the answer is quite obvious.”
Mladenov was scheduled to present to the union’s Foreign Affairs Council a detailed report on the Bulgarian police investigation into the July 18 attack in the Black Sea resort town.
On February 5, Bulgaria announced that Hezbollah bombed the bus, with its investigators describing a sophisticated attack carried out by a terrorist cell that included Canadian and Australian citizens. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said one of the suspects entered the country with a Canadian passport, and another with one from Australia. “We have well-grounded reasons to suggest that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah,” Tsvetanov said.
An op-ed in the New York Times on Monday by US National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon also urged the EU to act against Hezbollah. “Now that Bulgarian authorities have exposed Hezbollah’s global terrorist agenda, European governments must respond swiftly,” he wrote. “They must disrupt its operational networks, stop flows of financial assistance to the group, crack down on Hezbollah-linked criminal enterprises and condemn the organization’s leaders for their continued pursuit of terrorism.”
Labelling Hezbollah a terrorist entity requires unanimity among the EU’s 27 member states, and France and Germany have thus far opposed such a move. In Europe, only the Netherlands and Great Britain have added the organization to their terror lists.
If the evidence of murdering Israeli citizens is not enough to label Hezbollah a terror entity, it stands to reason that all other EU actions concerning Israel – such as settlements and any prospective peace plan—can also be considered to be equally politicized.