Europe May Act Against Hezbollah After Bulgaria Terror Bombing Probe

Investigation Blames Lebanese Group in Airport Attack

Stiffer Sanctions? Hezbollah has long been a prime suspect in the Bulgaria airport terror bombing that killed several Israelis last summer. Now that an official probe has named the Lebanese group, it may face stiffer European sanctions.
haaretz
Stiffer Sanctions? Hezbollah has long been a prime suspect in the Bulgaria airport terror bombing that killed several Israelis last summer. Now that an official probe has named the Lebanese group, it may face stiffer European sanctions.

By Nathan Guttman and Donald Snyder

Published February 15, 2013, issue of February 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

“The EU has to take a stand and list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” said Philipp Missfelder, the ruling Christian Democratic party’s parliamentary spokesman on foreign policy, in a statement. “A clear position from Europe is overdue.”

Political rivals dispute this idea. Dietmar Nietan, a Social Democratic member of the Bundestag said in a September 6 interview that outlawing Hezbollah is not the right path to take.

“At the end of the day, the problem of terrorism is not solved by declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organization,” he said. “We need communication channels not blanket condemnations.”

Shortly after the Burgas attack, Jewish leaders began urging the Bulgarian government not to fear citing Hezbollah as the culprit, if the evidence was clear.

In Britain, which has been the most forthcoming European nation on this issue, Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly asked the local Jewish community to “make a noise” and lead a grassroots campaign to push for a European designation.

The United Kingdom has been advocating that Europe adopt a dual approach toward Hezbollah similar to the one the U.K. itself maintains: ban the group’s military arm but avoid a comprehensive designation that would include Hezbollah’s political and welfare activities. This approach, explained Karen Betts, a representative for the United Kingdom ‘s Joint Intelligence Committee in Washington’s British embassy, stems from both Britain’s own recent historical experience and from practical political considerations. The path to resolving the civil war in Northern Ireland, she said, led British leaders to appreciate the need to maintain an open channel for future political engagement. “Hezbollah,” she said, “could one day be a real force for stability in Lebanon.”

Betts added that differentiating between the military and political wings of Hezbollah would also make it easier to convince other European nations to designate the group’s military branch as a terror group.

Levitt predicted that the Burgas investigation is likely to be only the “first shoe to fall.” The second would be a much-anticipated trial in Cyprus, where a Hezbollah activist confessed to scouting potential sites for attacks against Israeli tourists. “A conviction,” former counterterrorism adviser Benjamin said, “would go a long way in meeting Europe’s desire to have courtroom evidence… of Lebanon’s Hezbollah activity in Europe.”

Staff writer Nathan Guttman reported from Washington; contributing editor Don Snider reported from Greenwitch, Conn.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or follow on Twitter @nathanguttman.

Contact Donald Snyder at feedback@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.