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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Bulgaria’

Bulgaria: Hezbollah Did Not Blow Up the Airport Bus

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Bulgaria has officially backed down on Wednesday from the charges it made only a few months ago, that the deadly Burgas airport bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists, July 18, 2012, was done by agents of Hezbollah. Five Israelis and one Bulgarian national were killed in the blast.

And in the process of dropping the ball, the Bulgarians have left a brave, conservative British government to its own devices, in the midst of their drive to get the EU to blacklist the Shi’ite terrorists.

On February 5, 2013, the Bulgarian interior minister said, referring to two suspects in the attack, that a “reasonable assumption, I repeat a reasonable assumption, can be made that the two of them were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah.”

They had Canadian and Australian passports and they lived in Lebanon. According to the Europol, DNA evidence left on SIM cards helped investigators to conclude that Hezbollah was indeed behind the bus bomb attack in Burgas.

What happened? A new government happened.

After months of a political impasse, on May 28 Bulgaria was endowed with a new, Socialist-led government, which won a parliamentary vote of confidence, even though it relies on a minority coalition in parliament. This means that the new government of the European Union’s poorest country will be helpless to steer the economy in new directions, or at all, and to attract investment.

The Socialist party in Bulgaria is, really, the leftover bosses from the old Communist regime but with better PR. The former governing party, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, was more pro-American. The country’s stalement—still unresolved—has lasted since the February vote.

The minority government received 119 votes in favor and 98 against. It is backed by the Socialists and their ethnic Turkish MRF allies, and it is led by Plamen Oresharski, 53, a non-partisan former finance minister.

“The evidence is not categorical” that Hezbollah planned the attack, said Bulgaria’s brand new foreign minister, Kristian Vigenin, said on Wednesday in an interview with Bulgarian National Radio.

He said it while a European Commission is debating whether to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, even as the Hezbollah is sending expedition forces into Syria, in support of the embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

France and Germany have joined Britain in calling for Hezbollah’s ouster from the civilized world. Britain formally submitted the Bulgarians’ own evidence of Hezbollah’s involvement in the airport bombing, coupled with the March conviction of a Hezbollah agent operating in Cyprus of plotting another attack there.

Back in February, correspondent Borzou Daragahi, working for the London-based Middle East and North Africa, apologized for suggesting that Israel bribed Bulgaria to framed Hezbollah. “Sincere apologies and regret for ill-conceived tweet yesterday about Israel and Bulgaria,” Daragahi tweeted.

The previous day, Daragahi had tweeted, “I don’t doubt Hezbollah/Iran could be behind Bulgaria bombing, but also think Israel could pay Sofia to say anything.”

Michael Freund wrote in The Jewish Press last February:

E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, whose pitiful response to the Bulgarian probe was to counsel “reflection.

“We have to reflect on the consequences,” she told a press conference this past Tuesday, “we have to consult and come back.”

Ashton could not bring herself to even mouth the word “Hizbollah,” let alone utter a condemnation for its wanton brutality.

This reporter is known for mixing his private views and speculations with his news reporting, but for once I don’t see a need to speculate wildly. There appears to be a struggle within the EU over one of the vilest organizations in the world, an ally and a partner of two repressive, murderous regimes – and just last night, the supporters of that vile organization inside the EU managed to move the goal posts several yards on the decent folks who were trying to ostracize it.

Yori Yanover

Bahrain Officially Labels Hezballah a Terrorist Organization

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

The tiny Gulf State of Bahrain on Tuesday, April 9, became the first Arab country to place the Arab terrorist group Hezballah (Party of Allah) on its state designated terrorist list.

It is not that Bahrain is concerned over Hezballah’s decades-long genocidal intentions against Israel. But as a radical Shia sect, Hezballah also plays a destabilizing role in the Arab world. The terrorist group receives financial support, weapons and military training from Iran.

The Lebanese Shiite movement based in Lebanon has allegedly been backing and training radical Shiite groups against Bahrain.  That appeared to be the main reason the group received the terrorism designation.  Although the majority of Bahrainis are Shia, the monarchy is Sunni.

“The measure is to protect Bahrain’s security and stability from Hezballah’s threats,” Bahraini MP Adil al-Asoumi told Al Arabiya. There is evidence that Hezbollah is instigating violence against the government in Bahrain, Asoumi added.

“When we were in Syrian refugee camps in Turkey, we met with defected Syrian soldiers. They told us that in the past years, the Syrian regime was conspiring against the people of Bahrain,” in coordination with Iran and Hezbollah, Abdulhalim Murad, deputy head of Bahrain’s Islamist al-Asala bloc said, according to Al Arabiya.

The United States, Canada and Israel have all had Hezballah on terrorism-designated lists for some time.  Such a designation means that the bank accounts of the organization can be frozen, and suspected members can be legally monitored.

During the Mubarak regime, Egypt considered Hezballah a terrorist organization, but in late December of last year the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egyptian government announced it would pursue a “tight relationship” with the terrorist group.

An investigation into the deadly bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria last July, revealed that Hezballah was behind the violence that killed 5 Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver.

In the wake of the Burgas bombing, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barrosso said the European Union would consider including Hezballah on its list of terrorist organizations.  The Israeli government and Shurat HaDin (the Israeli Law Center) had each attempted to convince the EU to make that designation.

However, on March 7, the EU announced it would not make the change, claiming it “did not yet have sufficient evidence of its activity in Europe” to place Hezballah on the EU terrorist organization list.  Presently, Holland is the only European country to officially sanction Hezballah as a terrorist entity.

Were the EU to follow suit behind the U.S., Canada, Holland and Bahrain, and place the terrorist organization on its list of official terrorist groups, it would likely have a serious impact on Hezballah’s financial footing, and therefore its ability to continue its global terrorism operations.

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-israeli-mk-zoabi-blames-israeli-policy-for-terror-attack-in-bulgaria/2012/07/27/

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