Recently, the European Union decided on a meeting to list the Shiite Muslim group’s armed wing among the terrorist groups. This decision means that Hezbollah’s assets are to be frozen in Europe.
The first the welcome this step was the Dutch foreign minister who noted that the Netherlands advocated this decision since a long time and expressed his satisfaction that the EU „finally called Hezbollah what it is: a terrorist organisation”.
Yet one should not forget that the decision only touches Hezbollah’s armed wing that, since years, earned the mistrust of the European Union with its strikes and campaign against Israel. Meanwhile, the political wing as a legal party remains unaffected by this decision, and the EU explicitly noted to be willing to continue communication and relations with all political factions. Legitimate financial transfers and other forms of aid will not be affected either, even though it remains questionable whether the armed wing of an organization is so clearly detachable from its political wing.
While some European countries are happy with the decision, Lebanon expressed its dissatisfaction over this decision, but Prime Minister Najib Mikati also announced that this will not lead to a closure of relations between Lebanon and the EU countries. Despite remaining open, Mikati also noted that all the elements of the Lebanese society are keen to abide by international law, and claimed that Hezbollah is a major element of the society.
In addition, while Britain accused Hezbollah of being involved in last year’s deadly bomb attack in Bourgas, Bulgaria, thus founding the blacklisting of the group as a terrorist organization, Hezbollah refuses the accusations of killing several persons. EU countries backed the decision of putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organizations, and thus freezing some of their European assets, while the group itself and Lebanon stand for their innocence on the aforementioned attacks against Israeli visitors.
Yet Hezbollah’s military involvement against Israel is unquestionable and thus gives some ground for such accusations. It is equally undeniable that the group is essential in the Lebanese society and is a major element, and enjoys a widespread support of the people.