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Netanyahu in Poland: Europe need not question Hezbollah’s terrorist nature

(JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Warsaw that labeling Hezbollah as a terrorist group should not even be debated.

Netanyahu made his remarks during an address Wednesday amid reports that Poland has opposed classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist entity.

“If Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization, I don’t know what a terrorist organization is,” he told a joint meeting of Israeli and Polish government ministers in the Polish capital, adding, “Poland and Israel agree that terrorism must be defeated.”

According to a source closely following European Union deliberations on labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization, diplomats from Poland expressed reservations about blacklisting Hezbollah during a June 4 meeting of representatives of EU member states in Brussels. Poland over the past 20 years has emerged as one of Israel’s staunchest allies in Europe.

The source spoke to JTA on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, an EU spokesman said Wednesday that reports in the Israeli media that the European Union has decided not to blacklist Hezbollah were false.

“Discussions are continuing between the EU member states on the issue of listing Hezbollah,” David Kriss wrote in a statement. “Any decision requires the unanimous support of all EU member states.”

In his speech Wednesday, Netanyahu said Hezbollah was behind the lethal bus bombing in Bulgaria last July as well as terrorist activity in Cyprus. Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin reiterated this week that Bulgaria believes Hezbollah was responsible for the attack that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian driver at Burgas Airport.

Netanyahu, who was leading a delegation of five Israeli ministers who sat down with their Polish colleagues, also reiterated his readiness to start peace talks with the Palestinians.

On Thursday, he is scheduled to attend the opening of a new permanent exhibition titled “Shoah” at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, built on what used to be the Nazi extermination camp.

 

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