“I am very encouraged by the steps that the European Union has taken today to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who has spearheaded several bipartisan letters to the EU on the issue.
“One year after Hezbollah shed blood on European soil in Bulgaria, they will suffer the consequences," added Waxman. “This step helps to ensure that Hezbollah will not be able to access money and services in Europe that would help them spread their hateful and dangerous violence around the globe,” he said. “I look forward to working with our European colleagues to ensure proper enforcement of this important initiative.”
The designation, which is expected to include travel bans and the freezing of EU-based assets, was pushed heavily by the Netherlands. Other countries — notably France and Germany — had raised concerns that it could further destabilize Lebanon, where Hezbollah is a major political power and provider of social services, but eventually agreed to a British proposal to designate the group's military wing as a terrorist organization.
The compromise appears to have Israel's blessing.
“Today, the EU joined a long list of nations to declare to the world: Hezbollah is a terrorist org,” the Israeli embassy in Washington said on Twitter.
Hezbollah was officially founded in 1985 as an Iranian-backed resistance movement against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in 1982. The U.S. State Department did not add the group to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations until 1999 and briefly removed it from the list after the group condemned the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
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