Yaalon Welcomes EU Blacklist of Hizbullah
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon welcomed on Monday the EU's decision to recognize Hizbullah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization.
"This is an important move, and it is good that there is a consensus among European countries on the issue," said Yaalon.
The defense minister added that "Hizbullah is a dangerous and reckless terrorist organization which has not hesitated in the past and will not hesitate in the future to carry out suicide bombings across Europe.” He noted that these terror attacks are ordered and funded by Iran.
"Tightening the noose around it will enhance the intelligence cooperation between countries against Hizbullah and improve the struggle against the organization and its emissaries,” said Yaalon.
He stressed that the fight against Hizbullah must be "consistent, determined, uncompromising, and measures of the kind taken by the EU today will help.”
Earlier on Monday, in a compromise to avoid labeling Hizbullah a terror organization, the EU voted to place only its military wing on the list of terrorist entities.
The council of 28 EU foreign ministers could not reach a unanimous vote on the issue, although a majority was reached.
Hizbullah was proven to be behind the terrorist attack on an Israeli tour bus at Bulgaria’s Burgas airport that left six people dead and 35 wounded at the Black Sea resort town last year.
Lebanon, however, demanded last week that the EU keep Hizbullah off its list of terrorist organizations. The group has a sizeable contingent in the Lebanese parliament as well as in its Cabinet, and in a letter to the EU, the government wrote “is an essential component of Lebanese society.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised the European Union's decision to place Hizbullah's “military wing” on a blacklist, saying that Hizbullah was an agent of Iran that sought Israel's destruction.
The Chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu), however, said that the EU had only gone “half way” by failing to blacklist Hizbullah’s political arm as well.
Hizbullah, meanwhile, accused the European Union of bowing to Israeli demands in blacklisting its “military wing.”