Lithuania recognizes Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, bans its members
AJC Central Europe welcomed the ground-breaking decision of Lithuania to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and banning their members from entering the country for 10 years.
“Having taken into consideration the information acquired by our institutions and partners, we may conclude that ‘Hezbollah’ uses terrorist means that pose threat to the security of a significant number of countries, including Lithuania,” said Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius.
Lithuania’s decision follows the Netherlands, Germany, and Lithuania, to do so in Europe. Others who have taken action include Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Israel, Kosovo, Paraguay, Serbia, United Kingdom, and United States, as well as the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council.
“Thankfully, there is today a growing trend to shed any illusions and confront the stark reality that Hezbollah is one indivisible organization, and that organization is terrorist through and through,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “Other European nations, we earnestly hope, not to mention the European Union (EU) itself, will soon get on board and also designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group in its entirety.”
In 2013, following a deadly Hezbollah attack in Bulgaria and another incident in Cyprus, the EU made a decision to bifurcate the Iranian proxy. Due mostly to French opposition to designate all of Hezbollah, Brussels listed only its so-called “military” wing as a terror group, but not its “political” wing. It is an artificial distinction that Hezbollah itself rejects and, in any case, has no basis in fact.
“Permitting Hezbollah’s ‘political’ wing to operate on European soil has allowed for recruitment, fundraising, and the poisonous spread of antisemitism, not to mention sending a European message of hesitation and indecisiveness,” Harris added.
For well over two decades, AJC has been urging governments across Europe — and around the world — to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and take concrete measures to contain and confront its activities, including money laundering, narco-trafficking, smuggling explosives and weapons, and creating active cells on every continent.
AJC Central Europe, headquartered in Warsaw, was established in 2017 as an office to cover Lithuania as well as the other two Baltic states and the four Visegrad countries, even as AJC has been active in the region since 1989-91.
Cover photo: Flickr