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April 29, 2016 / 21 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Bulgaria’

The Meaning of European ‘Resolve’ Against Terror

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Yesterday, March 11, 2013, the European Union commemorates the 9th European Day in Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism.

Here’s the key part of an official statement released by the E.U. Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove:

All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, wherever they took place or whoever committed them. Therefore, our resolve to defeat terrorism must never weaken or falter even for a day, and our support to victims to meet their needs must remain a priority, as well as our commitment to actively promoting a policy of international solidarity.

Seems like a good time to remind him of the need to outlaw the outrageous and flagrant terrorists of Hizbollah whose supporters operate within the law in Europe with no evident interference from officials of the E.U. or of its Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. This ought to surprise us given that a Bulgarian court found last month that it was Hizbollah that stood behind the terrorist attack last summer on a tourist bus full of Israelis, killing five of them and their driver.

Mr de Kerchove knows this. But despite his public call today never to weaken or to falter “even for a day” in the battle to defeat terrorism, he doesn’t actually seem to mean the Hizbollah brand of terrorism, but other terrorisms. (Truthfully, we’re not completely sure which, but it seems that he is).

Here is how he expressed it in a January 28, 2013 interview (“EU official: Hezbollah unlikely to get on terrorism blacklist“) with E.U. Observer when asked if Europe should go along with the requests of the United States and Israel to make it illegal, for instance, to give donation money to Hizbollah:

…For De Kerchove, the situation is not so simple. “First, we need to reach conclusions with strong evidence that it was the military wing of Hezbollah [which indeed carried out the terrorist bombing at Burgas airport in Bulgaria]. That’s the prerequisite, even in legal terms, but then, as always in the listing process, you need to ask yourself: ‘Is this the right thing to do?’… For Hezbollah, you might ask, given the situation in Lebanon, which is a highly fragile, highly fragmented country, is listing it going to help you achieve what you want? … There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack. It’s not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it’s also a political assessment of the context and the timing…”

The interview was given just before the Bulgarians found, judicially, that Hizbollah was the culprit, so at least that prerequisite was satisfied. But that – why are we surprised? – is evidently not enough.

He noted there is “no consensus” among EU states on whether listing Hezbollah would be helpful or not [E.U. Observer]

which is a very good way to say what official Europe really feels about the battle against the terrorists.

In simple terms, the Commissioner’s official statement today, the one that appears in the press release above, should not be taken too seriously. Perhaps it was only intended for the terror victims and their commemoration ceremonies in the first place. If you really want to go after the terrorists, then the way forward – according to Europe’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator – calls for more than mere resolve. You need consensus and agreement as to whether it will be helpful.

European politics is populated by a multitude of individuals who are hopelessly ambivalent about the Islamists. As for serious European moves against terror, we can expect to see them limited to press releases and wreath laying ceremonies in civic squares.

Out on the streets and railways and airports of Europe? Not so much.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

DNA Evidence Helped Lead Investigators to Hezbollah

Monday, February 18th, 2013

DNA evidence left on SIM cards helped leader Bulgarian investigators to conclude that Hezbollah was indeed behind the bus bomb attack in Burgas in which five Israelis and one Bulgarian were killed, Ha’aretz reported.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister will present the evidence of Hezbollah’s guilt in a briefing to other E.U. Foreign Ministers today.

The U.S., Israel and Canada are pressing the European Union to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization, which would make it harder for the Lebanon-based terrorist group to raise funds.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Bulgaria Kicks Hamas to the Curb

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Is it possible that Bulgaria is now setting the bar for European countries in dealing with terrorism?

In July, 5 Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were murdered in a terrorist bombing at the Black Sea resort of Burgas.  Last week the Bulgarians issued a report of their exhaustive investigation, which named the Shia terrorist organization Hezbollah as the terrorist masterminds behind the murders.

Now Bulgaria has taken another bold step against terrorism within its borders.

As reported in the Jerusalem Post, after a Hamas delegation came to Bulgaria this week they were forcibly expelled from the country.

Members of the Bulgarian security services entered the hotel rooms of the three visiting Hamas delegates early in the morning on Friday, February 15, and drove them to the airport.  The expelled terrorist group members reportedly flew to Istanbul.  According to the Arab Palestinian media outlet Ma’an, the names of the three are Ismail al-Ashqar, Salah al-Bardawil and Mushir al-Masri, who belong to the Hamas Change and Reform Bloc.

The Hamas group was in Bulgaria to present to an EU member the “Palestinian narrative and expose the false Israeli narrative on the Palestinians and Hamas,” according to the Post report.

Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the same man who announced the result of the investigation into the Burgas bombing, said that while the Hamas members had entered the country with regular visas, during their stay “information was received which gives reasons to believe that their presence poses a serious threat for national security.”

The director of the Bulgarian Center for Middle East Studies, Mohd Abuasi, said he had invited the three Palestinians to show that Bulgaria “is not a completely pro-Israeli country.”

Abousi said that the conference which the Hamas members were to have taken part in was called off after the visit was cut short.  Abousi gave a different version of the manner in which the Hamas delegates left Bulgaria.

“Due to the strong pressure by Bulgarian authorities,” Abousi claimed, “the three lawmakers decided to leave in order to spare the country an escalating of tensions.”

The expulsion of the Hamas members undermined a claim made also on Friday by Hamas official Ahmad Yousef that the Hamas visit to Bulgaria hinted at the removal of Hamas from the EU terrorism list.

Yousef claimed he had specific confidential information that EU countries had “no reservations against removing Hamas from the terrorism list,” with the exception of Germany and the Czech Republic.

Immediately after Yousef’s claim became public, however, the Bulgarian government publicly clarified that the Hamas delegates had not been officially invited and that they would not meet with government representatives, according to the Sofia news agency.

The Hamas government has issued a stern condemnation of Bulgaria for expelling their members, blaming Israeli pressure.

“We condemn this act, which reflects the scale of compliance with Zionist pressures,” Hamas government spokesperson Taher al-Nunu said.

One of the three Hamas delegates expelled from Bulgaria on Friday, Mushir al-Masri, is related to the homicide bomber who murdered 15 Jews, 8 of them children, in the Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Amb. Prosor: Many States Classify Hezbollah as ‘Charity’

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

On Tuesday, Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor spoke during a Security Council open debate on the “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.”

Prosor referred to the finding last week, by Bulgarian authorities, that Hezbollah was the culprit behind the July bus bombing in Burgas, which killed five Israelis and one Bulgarian citizen.

“This was the deadliest attack on European soil since 2005,” Prosor said. “Despite this, however, Hezbollah remains conspicuously absent from the European Union’s list of recognized terrorist organizations. In fact, many states—including some in this hall—continue to classify Hezbollah as a charity. Not since Napoleon invaded Russia has the European continent seen such an astonishing lack of foresight.”

Prosor cautioned that Hezbollah’s sole purpose is “to commit terrorist acts both inside and outside the Middle East,” commenting that “calling Hezbollah a charity is like calling al Qaida an urban-planning organization because of its desire to level tall buildings.”

“One does not need the fortitude of Richard the Lionheart to do the right thing here,” Prosor concluded. “The EU must find the moral and political courage to place Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations. It must send a clear message that Hezbollah can no longer target its citizens with impunity.”

Jewish Press Staff

Arab Israeli MK Zoabi Blames Israeli Policy for Terror Attack in Bulgaria

Friday, July 27th, 2012

An Israeli Arab Knesset member said that Israeli policy led to the deadly recent terrorist attack against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.

“Israel is not a victim, and even when civilians are killed, the occupying Israeli policy is to blame,” Channel 10 quoted Haneen Zoabi as saying. “If there was no occupation, no repression and no blockade, then this wouldn’t have happened,” she said during an interview at Haifa’s Gordon College.

The terrorist attack, which American and Israeli offiicals blame on a Hezbollah operative, killed five Israelis and wounded another 36 on vacation in Burgas, Bulgaria.

Zoabi also came out against efforts to have the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics remembered with a moment of silence during the opening ceremonies of this year’s London Olympics. She is member of the National Democratic Assembly, a secular party that says a democratic, secular stay is the only that Israel’s Arab citizens can “achieve full, cultural, national and minority rights.”

“Why don’t they commemorate the Palestinians that Israel murdered?” Channel 2 quoted Zoabi as saying. “If Israel would say that it recognizes the injustice it has done to Palestinians, then it would also be logical to ask the world to remember all the sides. But it is hypocritical to continue to bring up the victims of 40 years ago, while Israel wants to hide the victims of recent years.”

Zoabi on Friday denied the reports, saying that the media had ignored her condemnation of the murder of Jewish civilians in Burgas and her participation in a minute of silence in their memory in the Knesset, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The media, she said, also ignored her central contention: that the occupation is the central act of terrorism, the center of conflict and suffering in the region, the paper reported.

JTA

Magen David Adom Races To Bulgaria

Friday, July 27th, 2012

“Wherever there are Israelis in trouble…we are there to help them,” said Yoni Yagodovsky, a spokesman for Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA), told The Jewish Press.

Roughly eight hours after the terrorist attack in Bulgaria, a team of 12 MDA professionals arrived in Bulgaria to help their countrymen.

“Some of them burst into tears and clapped their hands in joy when they saw our medical team arriving,” Yagodovsky said about the dozens of Israelis who escaped the attack but were holed up in Bulgaria’s Burgas International Airport due to security concerns.

MDA officials proceeded to visit the injured in two Bulgarian hospitals, offering assistance wherever they could. “Unfortunately, we’ve gathered a lot of experience in dealing with terror attack victims,” Yagodovsky said. MDA also set up a call center for families in Israel who were worried about their loved ones.

Asked whether Bulgaria resented MDA’s involvement, Yagodovsky said, “Not at all. They were very helpful and friendly. All the people I spoke with said only good things about the Bulgarians.”

Elliot Resnick

Israel Tightening Security Measures At Home And Abroad

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Israel’s global intelligence apparatus is being stretched thin as Iranian- controlled Hizbullah terror squads and pro-Assad Syrian chemical warfare teams are threatening to attack more Israeli citizens abroad and within Israel itself.

While high-ranking Israeli security officials have denied British media reports that the Mossad had sent a counterterrorism team to London to prevent an attack on Israel’s Olympic athletes, the Israeli media claimed that the Olympic squad is being guarded by elite British police, Mossad operatives and their Shin Bet colleagues.

In the wake of last week’s suicide attack by Hizbullah against Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, Mossad, CIA and MI5 agents have been combing European cities for two additional members of the Hizbullah terror team who escaped to another European locale. Israeli military correspondents report that the hit squad in Bulgaria could be part of a larger team, which might be en route to the Olympic Games to perpetrate another Munich-style massacre.

In related developments, Israeli and American investigators are trying to match the Bulgarian suicide bomber’s DNA to their criminal databases, and Bulgarian authorities are reporting that a mysterious Russian-speaking woman had also assisted the Hizbullah terrorists in Burgas.

Last Sunday Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen said that Iran and Hizbullah have tried to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli diplomats, businessmen and tourists in over 20 countries during the past two years. The Mossad and Shin Bet also said that Hizbullah terrorists were temporarily thwarted from launching an attack on Israeli citizens in Bulgaria earlier this year.

Meanwhile, leading members of the rebel Free Syrian Army told Western news agencies that pro-government military forces had moved a significant portion of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal to a select number of air force bases, where medium- and long-range missiles could launch attacks on Israel or “foreign invaders.” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has already informed Obama administration officials that Israel will possibly launch preemptive attacks against Syria’s chemical and ballistic missile installations if Israeli military intelligence detects an attempt by Assad to pass on unconventional weapons to Hizbullah or if he tries to draw Israel into a full-scale regional war.

Steve K. Walz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israel-tightening-security-measures-at-home-and-abroad/2012/07/25/

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