WASHINGTON (JTA) — Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives — two Democrats and two Republicans — called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
The letter sent Thursday by Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., Grace Meng, D-N.Y., and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., expresses concern over the failure earlier this month by the German parliament, or Bundestag, to extend a ban on Hezbollah’s military wing to its civilian arm. Deutch chairs the House’s Middle East subcommittee.
“We appreciate your government’s commitment to fighting terrorism, and we believe that taking the step to designate the political wing of Hezbollah will have a significant impact on Hezbollah’s activity in Europe and around the globe,” the letter said.
“Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has clearly expressed his intent to spread jihad and wipe Israel off the map. The threatening influence of Hezbollah extends beyond Israel and poses a tremendous risk to the security interests of Europe as a whole.”
A number of governments, including in Israel, the United States, Britain and among Sunni Arab states, see no distinction between Hezbollah’s civilian and military wings and have asked other Western countries to adopt the same policy. Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, is an ally of Iran.
“We support the steps that Germany has already taken by designating Hezbollah’s military wing, and believe that it is critical that Germany take into full consideration the impact that designating Hezbollah’s political wing will have on the terrorist organization’s dangerous activities,” the letter said.