Hundreds of multinational lawmakers call for total EU ban on Hezbollah

Hundreds of multinational lawmakers call for total EU ban on Hezbollah
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Hundreds of lawmakers across various political parties and across the Atlantic are urging the European Union to ban Hezbollah in its entirety.

European politicians and lawmakers from the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Israel are joining the calls for the EU to remove a distinction between Hezbollah’s political arm, which is allowed to operate on the continent, and its military wing, which was designated a terrorist organization following a deadly attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria on July 18, 2012.

Five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver were killed, and 32 Israelis were injured.

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“We, lawmakers from both sides of the Atlantic and united across party lines, call on the European Union to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization,” the open letter with signatures from 236 lawmakers reads.

“We thus urge the EU to end this false distinction between ‘military’ and ‘political’ arms — a distinction Hezbollah itself dismisses — and ban the entire organization," the letter says.

At least 13 countries — including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Germany and the Netherlands — designate both the political and paramilitary arms of the Lebanese and Iranian-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

The Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council also designated Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.

The lawmakers argue that banning the organization in its entirety will not hurt relations with Beirut, where Hezbollah political party members serve in the government.

“The European Union, which stands for democracy, human rights, and the rules-based international order, ought to use its power to put Hezbollah on notice. With nothing less than our collective security and the integrity of our democratic values at stake, now is the time to act," the letter reads.

The call by lawmakers also comes on the 26th anniversary of Hezbollah’s bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where 85 people were killed and hundreds more wounded.