Israel’s diplomats, including the ambassadors in Bulgaria, Romania and to the United Nations, have stepped up concerted calls to the European Union to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organisation in response to Bulgaria naming the military wing of the Lebanese-based group being involved in the July 2012 bombing at Bourgas Airport.
Five Israeli citizens, a Bulgarian and the carrier of the bomb died in the terrorist attack, for which two suspects identified in the Bulgarian investigation as accomplices are being sought.
On February 13, Israel’s ambassador in Sofia, Shaul Kamisa-Raz, said that a result of the investigation by the Bulgarian government, all European countries should decide to put Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organisations.
All the evidence and the facts established during the investigation pointed to the offender being Hezbollah, the ambassador said.
The activities of Hezbollah were connected to a chain of terrorist attacks in many parts of the world, among them Azerbaijan, Turkey, Cyprus and Thailand, and in all cases the attacks were against Israeli citizens, he said.
He praised the way in which the Bulgarian people had reacted to what had happened at Bourgas Airport in July 2012, and thanked the Bulgarian government for the way in which it had investigated the terrorist attack and for its clear statement about the perpetrator.
In an opinion piece posted on the website hotnews.ro, Israel’s ambassador in Bucharest, Dan Ben-Eliezer, said that the terrorist attack in Bourgas “was not an isolated incident, but one element in a worldwide terrorist campaign conducted by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. In fact, the Bulgarian report provides proof that Hezbollah is engaged in terrorist activities across Europe. Its intention to strike on European soil was evident when a similar plot was thwarted in Cyprus 11 days prior to the Bourgas attack”.
Ben-Eliezer said: “Terrorism has no boundaries and the time has come for the European Union to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and place it on its official list of terrorist entities. This decision would be an important step in the fight against terrorism, as it would provide the legal basis for closer monitoring of Hezbollah’s international activity and infrastructure, as well as placing pressure on the financial dealings and criminal activities which enable its terrorist attacks”.
From New York, the European Jewish Press reported Israel’s ambassador the UN, Ron Prosor, as saying that “calling Hezbollah a charity is like calling al-Qaeda an urban-planning organisation because of its desire to level tall buildings”.
Prosor, speaking in a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, denounced the fact that Hezbollah was still not on the list of EU terror organisations despite last week’s statements by Bulgarian authorities that identified the Lebanese Shiite group as being behind the July 2012 bus bombing in Bourgas.
“The terrorist attack demonstrated once again that the organization’s activities are not limited to the Middle East and that its fingerprints can be found on five continents – from Kenya to Argentina, Thailand, India, Europe and the United States,” Prosor said.
“Hezbollah’s sole purpose – its raison d’etre – is to commit terrorist acts both inside and outside the Middle East,” the Israeli ambassador said.