Israel will maintain contact with Hezbollah, so why should Europe stop?

The Israelis will continue to maintain contact with the Hezballah ‘militant staff’ whenever they want a body swap

Robert Fisk
Tuesday 23 July 2013 13:55 BST
Shiite Muslims Hezbollah militants stand to attention
Shiite Muslims Hezbollah militants stand to attention

So now European diplomats cannot meet the “militant wing” of Hezbollah.

Well, blow me down. I suppose that “political wing” – those who have been elected to the Lebanese parliament – can be found on the first floor of Hezbollah HQ in the southern suburbs of Beirut, while Our Man in Lebanon must not, under any circumstances, take the elevator to the seventh floor where the bearded chappies who fire rockets at Israel and who may (or may not) have murdered Israeli tourists in Bulgaria have their bureau. Zounds! The Israelis will be pleased about all this.

For it is the Israelis who are supposedly going to benefit. Hezbollah fighters will be downgraded to zero in the eyes of the EU. And let me forget for a moment that I’ve never met a Hezbollah gunman who has ever shown the slightest interest in meeting any of the stultifyingly boring Euro-diplomats who frolic their way through Beirut. And the EU will no longer allow all those bearded supporters in Europe to send cheques “Payable to: Hezbollah” in the mail. Well, that’s sure zapped the bad guys.

Of course, the Israelis will themselves continue to maintain contact with the Hezbollah “militant wing” whenever they want a body swap, usually on the exchange rate of two Israeli bodies equalling three or four hundred Hezbollah corpses. I have witnessed these macabre events and the “interlocuteur valable” is always the same: the head of the German intelligence service. He maintains excellent relations with the Israelis and with Hezbollah and often visits Lebanon. Are we supposed to believe that Germany will no longer offer its good services to the Israelis if it means chatting to Hezbollah’s “militant wing” – since Germany is a member of the EU? Forget it. The head of the German spooks – like the Brits and the Americans and anyone else – will go on talking to the bad guys if “national interests” are involved – and especially if Israel’s interests are involved.

I do, alas, recall how an equally spooky organisation used real British passports to engineer a political assassination in the United Arab Emirates not long ago, a nation whose “militant wing” will go on meeting EU diplomats: Israel. But it only needed the former British ambassador in Beirut to blog a benevolent line about the late Shia prelate Mohammad Fadlallah – not on the “militant wing”, I should add – to have Israel roaring and raging about her outrageous behaviour. Her Britannic Majesty’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, needless to say, grovelled its usual apologies.But cheer up, it’s more of a joke than a sanction. I can think of one political leader who signs off on casual executions. He uses a wondrous machine called a drone and his name is Obama and we’re surely not going to refuse to talk to his “militant wing” when our “militant staff” is fighting alongside his “militant wing” in Afghanistan.

We hate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad so much that we ran away from our embassy in Damascus and now operate the laughably-named “Damascus Team” from outside Syria in the vain hope that we can find out what’s happening there. Now we are going to cut our contacts with Hezbollah. Bravo. Time was when we used to go on breathing the halitosis of the bad guys even when they had proved themselves to be absolutely awful. There’s that corporal, isn’t there, who gobbled up Austria and then gobbled up Czechoslovakia and we only really got antsy when he started gobbling up Poland? But at least we knew what the wretched man was about. He sent his chaps into Prague with more fanfare than the Hezbollah sent their chaps into Qusayr. And we rubbed shoulders with his “political wing” in Berlin until 3 September 1939. I guess times change.

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