WASHINGTON, DC— Today, over two hundred and fifty members of Congress sent letters urging the President and Ministers of the European Union (EU) to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah has a long and deadly history of operating in Europe to finance, plan, recruit, and carry out terrorist plots. The letters were initiated following the deadly attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in July and an attempted Hezbollah-sponsored attack in Cyprus.
One letter, led by Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Steve Israel (D-NY) and Albio Sires (D-NJ), sent to the President and twenty-seven Ministers of the European Commission, highlights Hezbollah’s long history of international terrorism and its links to the Assad Regime and its brutal crackdown against the Syrian people. A second letter, authored by Representatives Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) and Edward R. Royce (R-CA), urges the government of Cyprus – having narrowly averted a Hezbollah attack in its own country – to show leadership on this issue during its current term in Presidency of the EU.
“It is time for the EU to stop dragging its feet,” said Rep. Waxman, Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “Hezbollah is only becoming more brazen in its operations in Europe. The Government of Cyprus is in the right place at the right time to lead the effort for EU designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”
“With a trail of terrorist plots around the world – including on E.U. soil – Hezbollah continues to show why it has been called the ‘A-team’ of terrorists,” said Rep. Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade. “The E.U.’s failure to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization contributes to their destructiveness – giving these killers the opportunity to organize, recruit, and raise funds across the continent.”
“In light of Hezbollah’s deliberate use of terror across the globe, I proudly joined my colleagues today to call on the European Union to once and for all declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization,” said Rep. Bilirakis. “Iran and Syria have armed, financed and trained Hezbollah for decades, and the organization is repaying these favors in support of Assad’s murderous attacks on its own people. Its use of suicide bombing against military targets and innocent civilians can no longer be tolerated. By branding Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, we hope to weaken its support, eventually rendering the organization obsolete, and ultimately, furthering the fight against terrorism.”
“The time is long past for the European Union to recognize that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization with a long history claiming innocent lives,” said Rep. Deutch. “The ability of Hezbollah to continue to plot and execute these acts of terror undermines the efforts of the United States and our allies to isolate the Iranian regime, protect Israel from a multitude of security threats, and pressure the Assad regime to abandon its campaign of violence and leave Syria.”
“Hezbollah is a dangerous organization that has claimed the lives of too many,” said Rep. Israel. “It is abhorrent that the EU has refused to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist group. The letters that my colleagues and I sent call for immediate action before Hezbollah becomes even more bold in its actions and afflicts even greater harm.”
The letter to the President and twenty-seven Ministers of the European Commission can be found online here
. The letter to the government of Cyprus can be found online here