by Benjamin Weinthal
Efforts focus on terror group’s links to 2005 Hariri murder, role in destabilizing Syria, 2000 kidnapping of Israeli businessman.
BERLIN – The Israeli government is redoubling its efforts to convince the European Union to outlaw Hezbollah within the 27-member body because of the Lebanese group’s record of terrorism.
According to reports in the Hebrew media, Israel’s new case involves showing Hezbollah’s role in the 2005 murder of Lebanese president Rafik Hariri, based on evidence culled from the international tribunal that investigated the bombing.
US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted on Monday that “Europe’s logic is baffling! It’s time 4 Europe 2 call Hezbollah what it is: a Terrorist Organization.”
In 2005, the EU parliament issued a resolution condemning Hezbollah for its terror activities in connection with Hariri’s murder. Policy- and lawmakers within the EU have ignored the resolution.
Israel is slated to reveal documentary material about Hezbollah’s role in destabilizing Syria and joining forces with Bashar Assad’s regime in the ongoing campaign to obliterate that country’s pro-reform movement. Hezbollah’s narcotics and money-laundering operations are part of Israel’s dossier.
According to Ma’ariv, Hezbollah’s 2000 kidnapping of Elhanan Tannenbaum is part of the documentation.
Tannenbaum, an Israeli businessman and a reserve colonel in the IDF, was released as part of a prisoner exchange in 2004.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry is concerned about a number of European objections. The Europeans believe Hezbollah, like Hamas, will challenge a ban in European courts based on insufficient evidence. The EU included Hamas in its terror list in 2003, but Hamas has challenged the ruling. The EU court in Luxembourg is expected to rule on the ban.
Germany, where there are 950 active Hezbollah members, and France have showed no interest in a Hezbollah ban.
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