A legal loophole, created by European politicians and adopted by the UK, is allowing support for Hezbollah in Britain. The terror organisation, however, should be banned outright.
A CUFI-UK petition calling for the full ban of Hezbollah has reached nearly 20,000 signatures and thousands of CUFI supporters have written to the Home Secretary.
Britain has only banned Hezbollah’s “military” arm but not its “political” wing. This means it is possible for people to openly support a terrorist organisation in the UK without any consequence whatsoever. But even Hezbollah don not differentiate between its political and military wings. In fact, one Hezbollah official has said, “Everyone knows that Hezbollah’s political and military wings are one and the same.”
Meanwhile, other Hezbollah leaders openly mocked and joked about the EU policy when it came into force.
As we saw in 2017 and 2018 at London’s “Al-Quds March”, the Hezbollah flag, which features an assault rifle, is used for both. But this is about more than just the flag. The suggestion that Hezbollah’s military and political wings are different is used by Hezbollah as a smoke-screen to legitimise its terrorist activities.
Clarity regarding the loophole
Surprisingly, the loophole was an invention of European politicians and not Hezbollah themselves. Because Hezbollah participates in elections in Lebanon and has members in the Lebanese government, the EU made the distinction in 2013 enabling it to outlaw the military arm while giving legitimacy to the Hezbollah political party thus protecting the basic rights of its voters or its candidates.
Immediately following the 2013 decision, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton explained this decision: “We want to be clear, too, in support for political parties of Lebanon and the people of Lebanon. We’ve made the distinction clear.”
Hezbollah has used this loophole to their advantage, using the democratic system to gain power while maintaining its own military forces outside the system’s control.
But by its own admission, the Hezbollah political and military wing are the same. For example:
- In 2013 the Hezbollah international relations official, Ammar Moussawi, said, “Everyone knows that Hezbollah’s political and military wings are one and the same.”
- Hezbollah’s deputy leader, Naim Qassem, told the Los Angeles Times in 2009, “We do not have a military wing and a political wing…The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel.”
- Mocking the EU’s decision in 2013, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah asserted: “A government [of Lebanon] without Hezbollah will never be formed. Just as a joke, I propose that our ministers in the next government be from the military wing of Hezbollah.”
- Hezbollah’s military and political wings are proscribed by the Arab League, Gulf Cooperation Council, USA, Canada, France, The Netherlands and Israel among others.
- A Dutch General Intelligence report (2.2.3) concludes: “Hezbollah’s political and terrorist wings are controlled by one coordinating council. This means that there is indeed a link between these parts of the organisation. The Netherlands has changed its policy and no longer makes a distinction between the political and terrorist Hezbollah branches.”
Understanding the Hezbollah threat
Hezbollah calls for Islamist revolution around the world, has carried out terror attacks for over 30 years, and calls for the “liberation of Jerusalem”. The elimination of the state of Israel has been a primary goal since its inception. Backed by Iran, it was estimated in 2015 that Hezbollah has amassed around 150,000 rockets that can reach every city in Israel.
- Hezbollah’s current manifesto rejects “any compromise with Israel or recognising its legitimacy…even if everyone recognises ‘Israel’”
- Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s quotes include “The Jews are a cancer which is liable to spread at any moment” and “If they all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”
- Hezbollah is also believed to be behind terror attacks in places as far as Thailand, Georgia, India, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Argentina.
- In October, the National Counterterrorism Center Director (NCTC) said the State Department’s work to counter Hezbollah is “every bit as much a priority” as its work against Al Qaeda and ISIS amid concerns Hezbollah is “determined” to attack inside the US.
Banning Hezbollah in it’s entirely will send a clear message that the UK will not tolerate the support of terrorism. It will also prevent without exemption the very public support of Hezbollah like that seen on the streets of London in June – something that was deeply offensive to the Jewish community and unacceptable considering the Government’s commitment to confront the perpetuation of terrorism and anti-Semitism.
Finally, it will send a clear message to Hezbollah that its terrorist aims and ideology, including calls for the destruction of Israel, must be rejected outright whether it is operating politically or militarily.
Read more about Hezbollah here