The confusing sounds coming out of Europe are appalling.
It has taken them a year and they are still unable to properly define Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Europe is desperately in need of an education in counter-terrorism.
There are nations in Europe, with reasons that are hard to fathom, who are unable to put the words “Hezbollah” and “terror” together, despite all the overwhelming evidence. Others do – to a limited degree.
That’s what happens when you have a committee of twenty seven members. You look for consensus and end up compromising. Compromise is a fatal flaw when it comes to defining and fighting terror, but this is precisely what Europe is doing. Affirmative clarity is needed, not a watered down definition that satisfies bureaucrats, and even the terror organization itself. Peoples’ lives are at stake here.
As I wrote in my article “Good Hezbollah, bad Hezbollah”, you cannot hold a selection process by cherry-picking parts of a terror regime, but this is what Europe is doing in their infinite ignorance.
They have decided to pick on what they call "the military wing" of Hezbollah, neatly allowing the leaders of this terror gang to continue their deadly preparation work.
Under the chinless leadership of Catherine Ashton, the EU is blundering from one crisis to the next like a blind bull in a china shop, breaking all the rules by setting new, ineffective, and damaging ones, causing immense damage, and achieving nothing of lasting value. We have the Ashton-led directives that arrogantly call parts of Israel as being non-Israeli, a decision that rewards a violent and rejectionist Palestinian society, with a decades-old history of terror, by punishing Israel and siding with Palestinians in a unilateral move precisely at the most sensitive moment in the peace process.
If that blunder was not bad enough, we now have the European Union letting Hezbollah off the hook by isolating what they call “the military wing” while keeping the rest intact. Their inability to call a spade a spade and Hezbollah, in its entirety, as a terror organization, leaves Hezbollah chief, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, laughing all the way to his Beirut bank. His “political wing” can continue fund-raising and recruitment in Europe as if nothing has happened. He, and his henchmen, will be considered politicians by the gnomes of Brussels even as Hezbollah gathers strength, continue their operations in Syria, and plan future operations around the globe, carefully avoiding Europe so as not to upset the Ashton committee.
If it wasn't so seriously tragic, this EU foreign policy would be farcical.
What is to be done with a Europe headed by politicians and bureaucrats who are apparently so ignorant, or cynical, of what constitutes a terrorist organization, and incapable of coming up with a precise definition and effective sanctions that it infuriates Israel, the United States, Canada, and other nations that can plainly see what is in front of their noses?
Clearly Europe needs an education on the definition, motivation, operation methods, and structure of terror groups, especially Hezbollah. This includes their political and religious aims, recruitment and funding, their intelligence gathering, their training and equipment, their command and control structure with its intimate linkage between their “political” and “military” arms that connect together as one indivisible organization.
I strongly recommend that a team of top Israeli and American counter-terror experts make the rounds of European capitals and meet with politicians and think tanks in closed door seminars and conferences. They should start their tour at the European Union headquarters in Brussels and address their parliament. The education process should begin immediately before further damage is done in the war of terror.
Israel and America are all too familiar with the Hezbollah leadership and infrastructure, their operating methods, and the inter-connection between all departments that implicate the organization in its entirety in the acts of terror from the political assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in Beirut to the attempted assassination of the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, to the blowing up of the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires to the Bulgarian bus bombing, and the preparation of terror attacks on European soil including in Cyprus, not to mention their involvement in the Syrian slaughter.
To imply that the “military wing” of a terror regime is to be sanctioned while leaving the “political wing” to operate is akin to the Allies blaming the Wermacht for World War Two while exonerating Hitler and Nazi Germany. This is as plainly absurd as isolating a “military” branch of Hezbollah while leaving Nasrallah and his cronies to continue their mayhem.
This was brought home this week when the Hezbollah Al-Mana TV channel revealed details of the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers inside Israel by Hezbollah that led to the 2006 Lebanon War. Sheikh Nasrallah said that he would never have ordered the operation had he known it would have produced the powerful and destructive reaction of Israel to the incident. This clearly demonstrates the link between the political ordering and approval of the terror attack and the military operation itself.
What greater proof can there be of the link between politicians and active terrorists in a terror regime than Yasser Arafat. Arafat may be seen in myopia Europe as a charismatic leader but to Israelis who have seen his handiwork up close and personal he was the godfather of modern terrorism and the world’s first Islamic arch-terrorist. He wreaked death and havoc in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and even from his exile in Tunis.
He was the patron of disparate and competing Palestinian terror groups. When he decided to launch his infamous and deadly intifada against Israel he ordered and equipped Islamist Hamas and Islamic Jihad on a murderous wave of suicide and car bombings against innocent Israeli civilians.
One would have thought that European politicians would have firsthand that both politics and terrorism are part of the same body after Arafat murdered passengers at Rome and Vienna airports and attacked the Munich Olympic Games in a deadly assault against the Israeli athletes.
It seems that EU politicians are still in need of an education.
Detailed intelligence briefings by Israeli and American counter-terror chiefs, who are on the frontline in the war on terror, will give European politicians, national security and legal experts something substantial on which to base current and future sanctions against terrorist organizations.
I urge European parliaments to learn from Israeli and American counter-terror experts the reasons it is wrong to compartmentalize parts of terror organizations and, instead, understand why it is so vital to address the combined agenda of the organization as a whole.
As former Canadian Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler, put it, “it is the European Union’s obligation, not just a policy option, to put Hezbollah on the terrorist list. It is shocking that it has not yet happened. It is a paradox that the EU wins the Nobel Peace Prize, holds itself up as a human rights leader, but has not put Hezbollah on the terrorist list, although combating terror is a fundamental principle of human rights.”
Europe must be educated as to why Hezbollah, all of Hezbollah, is tagged as a terrorist organization in its entirety.
Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegtimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College. He is also the author of “Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.” www.israelnarrative.com