Hezbollah head asks why Israeli army not blacklisted by EU instead
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Hezbollah head asks why Israeli army not blacklisted by EU instead

Nasrallah says terror designation will have no economic bearing on his group, but will allow Israel to attack with impunity

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

People watch Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah deliver a televised speech in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday (photo credit: AP/Hussein Malla)
People watch Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah deliver a televised speech in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon on Wednesday (photo credit: AP/Hussein Malla)

In a lengthy speech dedicated to a EU decision to place Hezbollah’s armed wing on its list of terror organization, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday evening blasted Europe for succumbing to Israeli and American pressure.

Nasrallah argued that the European decision stemmed not from EU values, but rather from “interests and pressures” exerted by Israel and the United States. Otherwise, he said, Israel should have been placed on the same terror list.

“Why don’t you place Israel, or rather it’s armed wing — the army — on the terror list?” Nasrallah asked. “You admit that it is occupying Arab land.”

“The aim of this decision was to cause us to surrender,” Nasrallah added, turning directly to decision makers in Europe. “I tell you, you will achieve nothing but failure and disappointment.”

Nasrallah claimed that the decision would have no practical implications on his organization’s financial state, since Hezbollah had no investments in Europe (“We don’t even put money in Lebanese banks for fear of the Americans,” he said), but would allow Israel to wage future attacks on Lebanon with legal impunity.

“The European Union harmed its own interests and sovereignty more than it harmed the resistance,” said Nasrallah. “These states have made themselves full accomplices in any aggression against Lebanon.”

Twenty-eight European Union member states unanimously voted on Monday to include Hezbollah’s military wing in its list of terror organizations. The move came a year after the Shi’ite Lebanese movement blew up a bus of Israeli tourists, killing five and a local bus driver, in the Bulgarian resort city of Burgas. A member of the group was also caught monitoring Israeli tourist traffic in Cyprus. Perhaps of most relevance to the decision, Hezbollah gunmen have been fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces in Egypt.

In his speech, before an assembly of Lebanese women breaking the Ramadan fast, Nasrallah mocked the distinction made by the EU between a political and military wing with regards to his organization, dubbing it “typically English” tampering.

“I suggest that our ministers in the next government be from Hezbollah’s military wing,” he said jokingly.

Ironically, many Israeli and other critics have responded to the EU decision by complaining that the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wings is non-existent, and that Europe needed to have banned Hezbollah as a whole.

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