The conclusions of the official investigation of the Bulgarian Government into the 18 July 2012 Burgas bus bombing are clear: the terrorist organization Hezbollah was directly responsible.

The terrorist attack in Burgas, which killed five innocent Israelis and a Bulgarian citizen and wounded more than 100 people was not an isolated incident, but one element in a worldwide terrorist campaign conducted by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. In fact, the Bulgarian report provides proof that Hezbollah is engaged in terrorist activities across Europe. Its intention to strike on European soil was evident when a similar plot was thwarted in Cyprus 11 days prior to the Burgas attack.

Terrorism has no boundaries and the time has come for the European Union to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and place it on its official list of terrorist entities. This decision would be an important step in the fight against terrorism, as it would provide the legal basis for closer monitoring of Hezbollah’s international activity and infrastructure, as well as placing pressure on the financial dealings and criminal activities which enable its terrorist attacks. This would lay the groundwork for preventing future Hezbollah strikes against innocent civilians of EU Member States, including Romanian citizens.

The hesitation of some European governments to declare Hezbollah a security threat is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the group. Despite the fact that it holds seats in the Lebanese government, it is a single, unified organization with a single leader, Hassan Nasrallah, who controls both terrorist actions and those "civilian" activities which serve to bolster support for the terrorists. Designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization would not destabilize Lebanon. On the contrary, Hezbollah is a primary force for instability, with its own private armed militia that competes with Lebanon's police and army. Moreover, it has been behind numerous attacks inside Lebanon and around the world.

Since its establishment almost thirty years ago, Hezbollah has violated international law by committing acts of terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Its history of illegal activities includes bombings of civilian targets, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and the use of Lebanese civilians as human shields.

The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel already list or view Hezbollah (or its components) as a terrorist organization. The findings of the Bulgarian investigation offers the European Union further proof that Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons represent a threat to the security of its citizens. Thus, European governments must also recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and act to contain it before it executes further terrorist attacks.

Dan Ben-Eliezer

Ambassador of the State of Israel in Romania