Why the EU Won’t Designate Hizballah a Terrorist Organization, and Why It Should

Since 2012, the European Union has officially considered what it calls the “military wing” of the Iran-backed guerrilla organization Hizballah—responsible for the deaths of hundreds of civilians from Buenos Aires to Bulgaria—a terrorist group. Yet the EU insists that the group’s “political wing” is a distinct, and legal, entity. Daniel Schwammenthal argues that it’s time for Brussels to confront reality:

Hizballah’s own leaders have repeatedly dismissed the notion that theirs is an organization neatly bifurcated into separate wings. Instead, they proudly proclaim that they are one. Responding to the EU’s partial ban a decade ago, the Hizballah spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi repeated what other Hizballah leaders had said before: “Hizballah is a single, large organization. We have no wings that are separate from one another.”

The true reason that the EU hasn’t banned Hizballah’s so-called political arm is not because anyone really believes in Hizballah’s immaculate bifurcation. Rather, the argument is that Hizballah is a major player in Lebanese politics, and banning it would supposedly destabilize the country. Continuing the so-called “critical dialogue” with Hizballah is believed somehow to help maintain a level of order in the country.

[But] Hizballah is not a normal domestic player that can be reasoned with, moderated, or somehow stirred toward more responsible statecraft through just the right amount of “dialogue.” . . . Despite Europe’s continuing engagement, Hizballah’s very nature inevitably facilitated and contributed to the massive corruption that has brought Lebanon near to economic collapse. . . . Europe can’t stabilize Lebanon by continuing to legitimize the country’s main agent of instability.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: European Union, Hizballah, Lebanon

Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security