Terrorism in Europe: Hezbollah is Guilty!

Simone Rodan-Benzaquen
March 27, 2013

The small island nation of Cyprus has received a lot of attention in Europe these days. With a huge financial crisis, several governments, including France, have spoken out for a need for European solidarity.

A few days ago another equally important event, given the stakes involved, occurred on the same small island. This event, too, calls for European solidarity, from the European continent, which can no longer pretend to be ignorant of facts claimed by the actors themselves.

I am talking about Hezbollah, which for the first time has seen one of its members convicted in a European court. Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, a Swedish citizen and member of Hezbollah, was found guilty by a Cypriot court for his participation in a criminal organization, acceptance and participation in committing a crime, and money laundering. During his trial Yaacoub admitted that he had conducted surveillance of Israeli tourists arriving in Cyprus, which buses they rode and which hotels they used. "I was only collecting information on the Jews. That's what the organization (Hezbollah) does everywhere,” he testified.

Yaacoub also admitted to investigators that he had been delivering packages on behalf of Hezbollah in Turkey, the Netherlands and France. All these details are valuable to our intelligence experts and clearly show the actions and motivations of Hezbollah on European soil.

"It has been proven that Hezbollah is an organization that acts in secret,” declared Tasia Psara-Miltiadou, one the three Cypriot judges. “There is no doubt that this group has many members and conducts many activities, including military training of its members. Therefore, the court stated that Hezbollah is a criminal organization."

The judgment is clear. It should prove to all who have expressed doubts about the nature, targets and means of Hezbollah. It commits crimes and acts of terrorism on European soil.

The activities of Hezbollah in Europe have increased lately. Two weeks after Yaacoub was arrested in Cyprus, the bloody attack in Burgas occurred. Five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed. On February 5th, Bulgarian authorities said that they hold all the necessary proof of the full responsibility of Hezbollah in the attack.

I have called upon the French and European authorities to act decisively. We at AJC have urged for moral clarity to finally place Hezbollah on the EU list of terrorist organizations.

It is also important to note that Hezbollah has been supporting Bashar Al Assad's regime by providing active support in its murderous campaign against the Syrian people. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice has stated that Hezbollah “is now part of the Assad killing machine...and the leaders of Hezbollah continue to conspire with Iran."

With counterfeiting, drug and weapons trafficking, Hezbollah finances its terrorist activities. The recent events in Bulgaria and Cyprus show that Hezbollah has established a network of terrorist cells throughout Europe.

France has started a war against terrorism in Mali. As François Hollande has clearly decided to fight against the terrorist threat in France and abroad, it is important to take strong and courageous decisions and illustrate a sense of moral clarity on all fronts.

“The European Union must be ready to draw any conclusions,” said French President Hollande concerning the terrorist attack in Burgas. Today, with the conviction of a member of Hezbollah in a European court, these exact conclusions need to be drawn. It is time to act.

It is time to be a responsible actor, and to call Hezbollah what it is. There is no doubt that Hezbollah is an international terrorist organization!

Simone Rodan-Benzaquen is director of the American Jewish Committee’s Paris Office.

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