May 1, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

UK to outlaw Hezbollah’s so-called political wing

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to 'proscribe the entire Shia organization as a terrorist group,' according to the report, a move that must be approved by Parliament.
May 1, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

UK to outlaw Hezbollah’s so-called political wing

Home Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to 'proscribe the entire Shia organization as a terrorist group,' according to the report, a move that must be approved by Parliament.

The United Kingdom’s home secretary plans to outlaw all of Hezbollah’s organization this week.

According to a report by The Telegraph report by the paper’s Sunday political editor Edward Malnick, “Sajid Javid is preparing to ban Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militant group, as soon as this week.”

The article said, “The Home Secretary [Sajid Javid] is expected to proscribe the entire Shia organization as a terrorist group, preventing supporters from parading its flag through the streets of Britain. The move will have to be approved by Parliament, raising the prospect that it could be opposed by Jeremy Corbyn, who once referred to members of the group as ‘friends.”’

The United Kingdom and the European Union merely classify Hezbollah’s so-called military wing a terrorist entity. Hezbollah political members operate in the United Kingdom and appear at the annual al-Quds day rally in London with Hezbollah flags. The rally promotes the destruction of the Jewish state.

The Telegraph noted that “it follows warnings by MPs that the UK had created a false distinction by proscribing the military wing of the group but failing to outlaw its political side.”

On Monday, a draft order was laid in Parliament that will proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety alongside Ansaroul Islam and Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), who operate in the Sahel region in Africa. Subject to the parliament’s approval, from Friday, when the order comes into effect, being a member or invited support from these organizations will be a criminal offence with a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

According to the article, an MP well-versed with Javid’s plan to ban Hezbollah said: “It has been worked on for some time and is now imminent – and long overdue. It was a curious anomaly not to proscribe Hezbollah’s political wing as well given that such a range of other countries had made a similar decision. In the current climate, it is a really strong signal that we won’t tolerate celebrations of terrorism and antisemitism on the streets of the UK.”

The Jerusalem Post reported on articles in the London-based Jewish Chronicle in June and September of 2018 which said Javid was slated to outlaw all of Hezbollah, but the reports did not materialize. Britain banned Hezbollah’s military wing in 2008 because the Lebanese militia attacked UK soldiers in Iraq. However, the United Kingdom allows Hezbollah’s political wing to operate.

The United States, Canada, the Arab League, the Netherlands and Israel consider Hezbollah to be a unified terrorist entity without separate military and political wings.

The European Union designated Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organization in 2013 due to Hezbollah’s role in blowing up an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria, which resulted in deaths of five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver.An additional 32 Israelis were injured in the terrorist attack. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has steadfastly refused to outlaw all of Hezbollah. German intelligence agencies say there are 950 Hezbollah members in the federal republic who raise funds and recruit new members. Hezbollah members across Germany raise funds, recruit new members and spread antisemitism, according to 2018 German intelligence reports reviewed by the Post.
“We have made it clear that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and asked all allies to consider the same designation,” US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told The Washington Examiner in December.

A specialized Bulgarian court for terrorism crimes is currently holding a trial in absentia for the two Hezbollah operatives who participated in blowing up the Israeli bus. The Hezbollah suspects, Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah and Lebanese-Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan, have fled to Lebanon. The Lebanese authorities have refused to extradite the men to Bulgaria. Interpol has issued arrest warrants for the two men.

Reacting to the announcement of the government’s move to proscribe antisemitic, terrorist organization Hezbollah in its entirety, Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council and David Delew, chief executive of the Community Security Trust, said:

“We welcome the Home Secretary’s move to proscribe Hezbollah in full. The Jewish community, including our organizations and leading community newspapers, have long led the call for this ban. Hezbollah was responsible for the deaths of 85 people in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires and remains a threat to Jewish communities around the world, launching deadly attacks against civilians in Israel and Bulgaria and planning for attacks in other places such as Cyprus.”

“The group’s genocidal intentions towards world Jewry were made clear in 1992 when they stated, ‘The war is on until Israel ceases to exist and the last Jew in the world has been eliminated,’” the three continued in their statement. “The case against Hezbollah has grown as the world has witnessed the terrorist organization’s widespread and active complicity in the wanton slaughter of civilians in Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad and his allies. The previously held false distinction, between the ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings, was denied by even the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah, who said that, ‘The story of military wing and political wing is the work of the British.’”

“This has led to a situation where Hezbollah supporters were free to parade the flags of this antisemitic terrorist organization on the streets of London,” they continued. “Following today’s announcement, we call on all of the relevant authorities to ensure that this will no longer be tolerated. The government, and in particular the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary, have our thanks for their leadership on this issue and we encourage other countries to follow suit. We would hope that all political parties would back this measure to secure our community and the rest of the UK from the murderous, antisemitic terrorists of Hezbollah. It is customary for terrorism proscriptions to be supported on a cross-party basis and we call on MPs and peers to back the motions in both Houses of Parliament this week.”

Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Jeremy Sharon contributed to this story.

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Hezbollah International Organizations Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Sanctions and Illicit Finance Syria