Despite the U.S. imposing a fresh round of sanctions against
Hezbollah, the group remains active throughout Europe, where its members work
relatively freely to raise money for its leadership in Lebanon, according to a
New York Times article published Wednesday.
"While the group is believed to operate all over the continent, Germany is a center of activity, with 950 members and supporters last year," according to the article, which points out that this makes for an increase of 50 members since 2010.
The European Union views Hezbollah "foremost as a Lebanese political and social movement," the article states.
Last month, before this latest round of sanctions, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman lobbied the EU to emulate the U.S. and blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Lieberman's efforts followed the bombing of a bus in Bulgaria, which killed five Israeli tourists and the local bus driver, and which Israel has blamed on Hezbollah and Iran. The Islamic Republic and Hezbollah have denied the allegation.
The EU rebuffed Israel's request that they consider Hezbollah a terrorist entity. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the foreign minister of Cyprus -- which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency -- said at the time: "Should there be tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism, the EU would consider listing the organization."
According to the article, the divergence of opinion regarding Hezbollah between the U.S. and the EU stems from a growing European belief that it has become a professional political party, and that it delivers social services, whether to people in Lebanon or the Diaspora in Europe.
However, the U.K. lists the party's armed wing as a terrorist organization, and The Netherlands blacklists the entire party.
The article added that many in Europe are more concerned with Salafists, such as the man who confessed to the killing of seven people in southwest France earlier this year, and do not view Hezbollah as a threat to their national security.
According to the report, some Europeans also believe that Israel is stressing the threat posed by Hezbollah as a pretext to justify an attack on Iran.
Most Popular Stories
- Will Yahoo Splurge on $1-Billion acquisition of Tumblr?
- Yahoo to Pay $1.1 Billion for Tumblr
- Google Fiber Making an Impact
- Federal Rules Least of Coal Industry's Problems
- Gas Prices Expected to Stay High
- New 'Arrested Development' Episodes 'Dressed Up'
- Facebook, Twitter Announce Apps for Google Glass
- Summer Movies Aimed at Young Men, Teen Boys
- Exciting Night for UFC Fans
- Rand Paul 2016?