Israel Welcomes Austrian Parliament’s Call for Measures Against Hezbollah

YERUSHALAYIM -
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A man affixes a Hezbollah flag in the “Garden of Iran” Park, which was built by the Iranian government, in the Lebanese village of Maroun al-Ras, along the Israeli border. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel welcomed the decision by the Austrian parliament calling for measures against the Hezbollah terrorist organization.

The resolution, unanimously passed in parliament, calls on the Austrian government to take action against terror activists and supporters, and also seeks to change the policy that artificially separates the military and political arm of the organization.

“Hezbollah wants to destroy Israel and propagates antisemitism and spreads radical Islamic ideology,” said Reinhold Lopatka and Michaela Steinacker, both of whom are MPs from the conservative Austrian People’s Party — the lead partner in the conservative and Green coalition government in Austria.

The two MPs added that Hezbollah’s entity should be classified as a terrorist organization.

Lopatka added that there is need to put an end to the formation of the legend that Hezbollah’s terror attacks are “just resistance.”

The resolution urged Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s administration to advocate on the EU level that Hezbollah’s entire organization be reassessed in connection with a full terror designation.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi responded to the move, noting that “This is a significant decision against Hezbollah, and I hope that the Austrian government adopts the parliamentary decision and joins the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands who recognized Hezbollah as a whole as a terror organization.

“In the lead to this decision, like similar decisions made in Europe in recent months, was significant diplomatic work by foreign ministers leading an inter-agency effort to combat Hezbollah in the international political arena.”

Last month, Germany outlawed all of Hezbollah activities within the borders of the federal republic and designated the entire Hezbollah a terrorist movement.

The Austria People’s Party MP Martin Engelbert noted that the separation of Hezbollah into political and military wings is an “invention” of the EU.

The EU merely banned Hezbollah’s so-called “military” wing in 2013 after Hezbollah operatives blew up in Israeli tour bus in 2012 in Bulgaria, murdering five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver. Hezbollah’s leaders declare their movement a unified organization.