Thursday, September 20, 2012

Middle East: U.S. Senate Letter Urges EU to Add Hezbollah to Terror List

Source: AJC

AJC applauded a bipartisan U.S. Senate letter urging the European Union to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

"As the largest recipient of Iranian assistance, Hezbollah has conducted terrible acts of terrorism on Western targets in recent decades," stated the letter. "Given the unrelenting and lethal activities of Hezbollah, we urge the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization."

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, led the bipartisan group of 76 senators. The letter was addressed to Catherine Ashton, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

AJC applauded the Senate initiative. "EU member countries, like the U.S., have suffered the tragic consequences of Hezbollah violence, supported by Iran, Hezbollah's founder and principal supporter," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "The U.S wisely designated Hezbollah a terror organization in 1995. So has one EU member, the Netherlands, which has called on other EU member states to stand as one. The EU would be wise to heed the call from the Hague. Otherwise, there is a mixed message about the resolve to confront the reality of terrorism."

For AJC, this issue has been a top priority for many years. The EU came close to designating Hezbollah a terror organization several years ago, but was rebuffed by the resistance of a few of its members. The July terrorist bombing in Bulgaria, an EU member state, has rekindled concern about Hezbollah, which the U.S. and Israel accused of responsibility for the deadly attack.

A similar letter is circulating in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is expected to be sent shortly to Ashton.

"The EU should recognize Hezbollah for what it is – a terrorist organization – and stand with the United States against Hezbollah in all its forms," stated the Senate letter.