Lapid urges EU to ban Hezbollah

Yesh Atid chairman lobbies EU to put Hezbollah's political wing on terror watchlist.

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Tzvi Lev,

Lapid with Mogherini
Lapid with Mogherini

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid urged the European Union to outlaw the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group in a series of meetings he held on Thursday in Brussels.

While the EU officially added Hezbollah's military wing to its terror list in 2013, it does not consider its political wing a terror organization, a distinction the EU reserves solely for Islamic groups. In a meeting with EU Foreign Minister Frederica Mogherini, Lapid urged the EU to add Hezbollah's political wing as well, which would make it significantly harder for the organization to raise and transfer funds worldwide.

"The EU needs to know that there is no separation between the political wing and the military wing of Hezbollah," Lapid told Mogherini. "Hezbollah's political wing is their conduit for transferring money, and we are determined to stop it."

Lapid also met with dozens of ambassadors to the European Union in order to enlist their support for the move, which is supported by EU ambassadors from more than 60 countries.

Hezbollah currently controls large parts of Lebanon and is believed to possess more than 150,000 rockets and other projectiles, including long-range Scud missiles.

According to the US, Hezbollah receives most of its operating budget -- about $700 million a year -- from the Iranian government and takes orders from the country's elite Revolutionary Guards.

In October, Washington offered multimillion-dollar rewards for two of its officials as the Trump administration developed its strategy for countering Iran’s growing regional influence.