NEW YORK/BRUSSELS (EJP)---The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has again called on the European Commission to designate Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese group, as a terrorist organization, after it emerged that a drone unidentified aircraft that entered Israeli airspace last week was Iranian-made.
In an October 11 press conference in Beirut Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah announced that the group had sent an Iranian-made drone 35 miles inside Israeli territory, aapparentky on a reconnaissance mission. It was shot down by Israeli forces.
Nasrallah threatened future “surprises” and ominously warned that “this operation is not the first and won’t be the last.”We can reach any place we want,” he continued.
“This incident represents an alarming escalation of belligerent anti-Israel activity by Hezbollah, and a reflection of Iran’s growing reach,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in a statement. "The distinction between Hezbollah's terrorist arm and its political activities is an unsupportable fiction."
In a letter to the European Commission, ADL noted that « Hezbollah’s terrorist pursuits have been well documented for over thirty years. »
"They are responsible for scores of terrorist attacks around the world including the infamous 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most recently, Hezbollah has been implicated in the July 2012 bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria, as well as a terrorist plot intercepted days earlier in Cyprus," the letter stated.
"Hezbollah is responsible for direct and unprovoked attacks against Israel, including sending rockets into Israeli civilian population centers and their satellite network, Al-Manar propagates extreme anti-West, anti-American and anti-Israel vitriol around the globe".
"The nature of the unceasing operations conducted by this non-state terrorist actor in Europe and throughout the world is clear."
Iran, which Israel claims uses Hezbollah as its proxy, followed up the statement by the Lebanese group, which both the US and the Netherlands classifies as a terrorist organisation in contrast to EU policy, with its own televised address Sunday, confirming the unidentified aircraft was manufactured in Iran.
Speaking to state channel, Iranian Defence Minister General Ahmad Vahidi congratulated its ally on a “great job”, adding that Hezbollah had a right to conduct the mission, based “repeated violations” of Lebanese airspace by Israeli warplanes. Mocking Israel’s much-touted Iron Dome anti-missile defence system, which was co-developed by the US in order to target unidentified short-range rockets, he said the Hezbollah invasion shows the system “does the work and lacks the necessary capability”.
Last July, the European Union turned down a request by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who travelled to Brussels, to blacklist Hezbollah as a terror group after the Bulgaria bus attack on Israeli tourists, an EU member state, in which five Israelis and their Bulgarian driver died.
"There is no consensus for putting Hezbollah on the list of terrorist organisations," said at the time Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, in July.
The EU argument is that Hezbollah is a “political organisation” comprising a party as well as an armed wing and that it is "active in Lebanese politics" -- with representatives in the government and in parliament.
In September, Britain urged the European Union to follow its example and place the military wing of Hezbollah on the terror list.