"The European Union must act now and use its instruments to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization," Missfelder said, adding that if the EU cannot
reach a consensus, the Federal Republic should unilaterally sanction Hezbollah.
That would make Germany only the second country in the EU to sanction Hezbollah's entire apparatus. (The only nation to do so to this point is the
Most of the EU has been unwilling to consider such a move. For example, Cypriot foreign minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country held the EU's
rotating presidency last July, sheepishly noted, "Hezbollah is an organization that comprises a political party [and a] social services network, as well as
an armed wing. Hezbollah is active in Lebanese politics, including the parliament and the government, and plays a specific role with regard to the status
quo in Lebanon."
But much has changed since last July's Burgas, Bulgaria bus bombing. Three Hezbollah operatives detonated several pounds of TNT in a bus at the Black Sea
resort, killing five Israelis, a Bulgarian National, and causing severe injuries to 32 Israelis.
The timing of the attack was audacious, even for Hezbollah. Two weeks prior, Cypriot authorities arrested a dual Swedish-Lebanese citizen, a self-confessed
Hezbollah member named Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, for plotting to murder Israeli tourists on the small Eastern Mediterranean island.
We have learned much about Hezbollah in Europe since then. The 80 page decision by a three-judge panel in late March outlining the conviction of Yaacoub,
also describes the reach of Hezbollah's activities across Europe. Alarmingly, the group's activities and meetings spanned from London to Amsterdam to Lyon,
France. In early April, a criminal court in Haifa sentenced an Israeli Arab to seven years in prison for espionage activities on behalf of Hezbollah. He
met with his handlers in Denmark.
There had always been hints of Hezbollah activity in Europe. Germany's domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz, documented in its report
the existence of 950 active Hezbollah members in the Federal Republic as of 2011. But the Europeans simply didn't see the need to take action.
The United States has not been bound by the same constraints. The Clinton administration named Hezbollah a terror entity in 1995. That policy was
reinforced during the George W. Bush presidency, with its focus on the "war on terror." And it has even held up during the Obama administration. President
Obama told Israeli students during his visit to Jerusalem
"... every country that values justice should call Hezbollah what it truly is: a terrorist organization."
While the revelation of Hezbollah plots on EU soil was likely a jolt to the EU, the Obama administration's steady stream of escalating calls for a
Hezbollah designation has undoubtedly softened the stances of the EU's most recalcitrant members, France and Germany.