Ireland Accused of Leading EU Resistance to Blacklisting Hizbullah

YERUSHALAYIM -

Ireland was singled out by Israeli officials as a leading force in European Union resistance to placing Hizbullah on its terrorist blacklist, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.

The officials said that Ireland — which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency — was backed by Sweden and Finland at a meeting to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

The meeting in Brussels was convened at the request of the British, who have been advocating an EU blacklist of the Hizbullah’s so-called “military wing.” The issue has taken on renewed urgency in recent weeks because of Hizbullah’s increased involvement in the Syrian civil war.

A spokesman at Ireland’s embassy in Tel Aviv was evasive when questioned on the matter. He said only that a formal proposal to designate the “military wing” of Hizbullah had been made by a member state and is under consideraton.

A consensus of the 27 EU states is required to put Hizbullah on the terrorism list.

The argument is that such a move against Hizbullah could destabilize Lebanon, where Hizbullah plays a major role in the government, hampering European relations with Beirut and endangering the UNIFIL troops stationed there.

However, one Israeli government official described the situation as “unusual,” given that Germany, France and Spain — which all have large contingents in UNIFIL — now back the proposal to list Hizbullah.