The European Union is coming under fire from Israeli officials and Jewish organizations for rejecting a proposal to place Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on a list of terrorist organizations after it was blamed for a bomb attack in Bulgaria which targeted and killed five Israeli tourists.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that his country has “rock-solid evidence” that Hezbollah is behind the attack, and members of his government have made personal pleas to the EU to add the group to its terrorist blacklist.
But Cyprus’ foreign minister, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, said that the member states couldn’t find consensus because of Hezbollah’s involvement in Lebanon’s political process.
The reluctance to blacklist the Iranian-backed group has angered members of the Jewish community, some of whom feel more at risk after the bus bombing in Bulgaria.
In an interview with JN1, European Jewish Parliament member Joseph Willem Van Den Bergh said the recent attack should remind EU members that militant violence is unacceptable and can reach beyond the Middle East.
MEJP Joseph Willem Van Den Bergh:
“They should be very careful and should consider the fact that these attacks take place in member states also, not only in the Middle East. And there’s of course collateral damage if that takes effect in specific host countries, you can call it that. Therefore, they should be very careful when they make their determinations. “
The group, which backs a political party with seats in the Lebanese government, has been blamed for a number of terrorist attacks since the 1980s, dating back to the bombing of a US Marine barracks in Lebanon which killed 240 soldiers.