Britain Has Discarded the Delusion That Hizballah Has Two Wings, but Europe Clings to It

March 12 2019

In a recent reversal, the United Kingdom outlawed Hizballah’s “political wing” from operating within its borders, after over a decade of considering only its “military wing” a terrorist organization. Yet, write Mark Dubowitz and Benjamin Weinthal, other European countries refuse to follow suit:

On Friday, the German government rebuffed requests from the U.S., Israel, and a number of Arab countries to outlaw all of Hizballah. Europe’s . . . approach to Hizballah puts it at odds with reality—not to mention Hizballah leaders’ own view of their group. . . . The partial ban prompted the Hizballah spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi to repeat what other top officials of the group have stressed over the years: “Hizballah is a single, large organization. We have no wings that are separate from one another.” . . .

But the EU, [along with Germany, has] continued to ignore Hizballah’s self-described identity as a unitary organization. The rationale: Europe, in particular France and Germany, desired to continue a “critical dialogue.”. . .

As the main economic engine of Europe, Germany could influence a change in EU policy toward Hizballah. [Moreover], Germany has long been a hotbed of Hizballah activity. The organization’s representatives raise funds, recruit members and spread a lethal anti-Semitic and jihadist ideology. . . .

The real reason Germany (and the EU) hesitate to ban the whole of Hizballah has to do with appeasing Iran, Hizballah’s sponsor. Berlin is well aware that Hizballah is tied at the navel to Tehran. . . . That treasured friendship was on display last month when German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier sent a warm congratulatory telegram to Tehran to honor the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Republic.

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More about: European Union, Germany, Hizballah, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, United Kingdom


Despite What the UN Says, the Violence at the Gaza Border Is Military, Not Civilian, in Nature

March 22 2019

On Monday, a UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry issued its final report on last spring’s disturbances at the Gaza border. Geoffrey Corn and Peter Margulies explain why the report is fatally flawed:

The commission framed the events [in Gaza] as a series of demonstrations that were “civilian in nature.” Israel and its Supreme Court, [which has investigated some of the killings that occurred], framed the same events quite differently: as a new evolution in Israel’s ongoing armed conflict with the terrorist organization Hamas. Consistency and common sense suggest that the Israeli High Court of Justice’s framing is a more rational explanation of what occurred at the Israel-Gaza border in spring 2018.

Kites, [for instance], played a telltale role [in the violence]. When most people think of kites, they think of a child’s plaything or a hobbyist’s harmless passion. In the Gaza confrontation, kites [became] a new and effective, albeit low-tech, tactic for attacking Israel. As the report conceded, senior Gaza leaders, including from Hamas, “encouraged” the unleashing of waves of incendiary kites that during and since the spring 2018 confrontations have burned thousands of acres of arable land within Israel. The resulting destruction included fires that damaged the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which conveys goods and gasoline from Israel to Gaza. . . .

Moreover, the incendiary-kite offensive was an effective diversion from the efforts encouraged and coordinated by Hamas last spring to pierce the border with Israel and attack both IDF personnel and the civilian residents of the beleaguered Israeli towns a short distance from the border fence. . . .

The commission also failed to acknowledge that Hamas sought to use civilians as an operational cover to move members of its armed wing into position along the fence. For IDF commanders, this increased the importance of preventing a breach [in the fence]. Large crowds directly along the fence would simplify breakthrough attempts by intermingled Hamas and other belligerent operatives. The crowds themselves also could attempt to pour through any breach. Unfortunately, the commission seems to have completely omitted any credible assessment of the potential casualties on all sides that would have resulted from IDF action to seal a breach once it was achieved. . . .

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Laws of war, UNHRC, United Nations