US Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism, Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Kathy Manning (D-NC), and Peter Meijer (R-MI) on Monday introduced a resolution urging the European Union (EU) to fully designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
Currently, the EU only includes Hezbollah's military wing - and not its political wing - on its list of sanctioned terrorist organizations. The United States makes no distinction between its branches and includes Hezbollah in its entirety on the US Foreign Terrorist Organization list.
This resolution furthers the call made by Deutch and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in a joint op-ed in October 2017.
This resolution was co-introduced by US Representatives French Hill (R-AR), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Ranking Member of the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee Joe Wilson (SC-02).
"When you are dealing with a ruthless terrorist organization like Hezbollah, there is no distinction between political and militant wings," said Rep. Deutch.
"I'm pleased that many European countries took action to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, as the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council have also done. But we need the European Union to cease allowing Hezbollah's so-called political wing to freely operate by joining us in fully targeting this terrorist group and its global criminal network," he added.
“It is critical for members of the EU to designate the entire Hezbollah regime as a terrorist organization. This designation will make it more difficult for Hezbollah to raise money to fund its terrorist activities around the globe. Additionally, it will hopefully weaken the organization’s support and eventually render it obsolete,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “As we seek to secure a future free of terrorism, the EU and United States must stand strongly united against those who wish to threaten our way of life and foster chaos. Taking this important action is a major step toward achieving that moral imperative.”
“Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, responsible for thousands of civilian deaths in the Middle East and around the globe," Rep. Manning said. "Their impact on the disintegration of Lebanon has been devastating; they amplify the destructive influence of Iran; and they pose a danger to the entire region. Today, I am calling on the European Union to fully designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and to work closely with the United States to implement sanctions, share intelligence, and to curb Hezbollah’s malign regional influence.”
“The European Union’s distinction between Hezbollah’s ‘military’ and ‘political’ wing is both dishonest and does little to address its fundraising and recruitment efforts," said Rep. Meijer. "This resolution urges the EU to recognize the reality that Hezbollah — in its entirety — is a terrorist organization and takes steps to better combat its nefarious operations around the world.”
While the EU distinguishes between Hezbollah’s military arm and political arm, several countries in the world have in recent years blacklisted the entire group.
Germany last year issued a federal order outlawing Hezbollah in the country, and also took enforcement measures under the provisions of the order.
The order prohibits any contact with members of the organization and does not differentiate between its various arms - military, political or social. According to the order, any use of the organization's symbols and the organization's assets in Germany, if any, would be banned.
In March of 2019, the British government designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Last year, Britain's finance ministry added the entire Hezbollah organization to its list of terrorist groups subject to asset freezing.
In November of 2020, Slovenia joined the list of countries to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
This past February, the Liguria Regional Council in Italy designated Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.
Earlier this year, Austria amended its Symbols Act, which prohibits the use of the symbols of terrorist groups, and stipulated that all arms of Hezbollah are considered terrorist organizations.