Joint Statement Welcomes UK Initiative for EU Banning of Hizbollah

Two of Britain’s leading Jewish organisations, the JLC (Jewish Leadership Council) and CST (Community Security Trust), today praised the Foreign Office’s formal request of 21 May 2013 that the European Union classify the so-called military wing of Hizbollah as a terrorist group.

The FCO request follows intensive representations by JLC, CST and other UK Jewish groups to the Government, Members of Parliament and the European Union in response to Hizbollah terrorism occurring within the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron directly indicated his support for this outcome in a meeting with the JLC in Downing Street in January 2013.

Hizbollah’s military wing was banned in the UK in 2008. The Government’s intentions regarding an EU banning had been signaled on 9 May 2013 in the House of Commons where Alistair Burt MP (Under-Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs) told Michael McCann MP (a vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel) of HMG’s intention to “take the lead” in the “EU designation of the Hezbollah military wing”.

Hizbollah, backed by Iran, has long been one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups. Recent cases in Cyprus and Bulgaria show Hizbollah terrorism spreading into Europe and it is vital that the EU does not allow such actions to go unpunished. Furthermore, it is now undisputed that Hizbollah is playing an important and growing combatant role in Syria, fighting on behalf of the Assad regime and dragging Lebanon into that war.

In Bulgaria, investigators strongly suspect Hizbollah of responsibility for the 18 July 2012 suicide bomb attack upon Israeli tourists at Burgas Airport. Five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver were killed in the attack. The Burgas attack occurred on the 18th anniversary of the 1994 truck bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people.

In Cyprus, on 21 March 2013, a court found a Lebanese-Swedish national, Hosem Taleb Yaacub, guilty of plotting terrorism on the island and of working with cells in France, Holland and Turkey. Yaacub admitted to being a member of Hizbollah and told the court, “I was just collecting information about the Jews. This is what my organisation is doing, everywhere in the world”. Yaacub had been arrested 11 days before the Burgas attack.

JLC Chief Executive, Jeremy Newmark, stated:

David Cameron and William Hague must be congratulated for taking a lead in pressing the EU to deliver this long-overdue designation as part of the fight against terror.  We hope that the process will progress smoothly and that attention will now turn to clamping down on the so-called ‘political’ wing of Hizbollah.

CST Director of Communications, Mark Gardner, stated:

CST applauds Britain’s initiative to have Hizbollah banned by the EU. The action is needed to protect all European citizens from the spread of Iranian and Hizbollah terrorism.

 

Note: UK Jewish leaders recently met with Deputy EU Foreign Minister Helga Schmidt

For more information please contact:

CST Press Office: 020 8457 9960 enquiries@thecst.org.uk

JLC: 020 7242 9734 or info@thejlc.org