Currently, the UK only proscribes Hezbollah’s ‘military wing,’ but not its ‘political wing.’
The British House of Commons is slated to debate on January 25 a ban of the entirety of Hezbollah because of the Lebanese group’s terrorist activities.
“Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, driven by an antisemitic ideology, which seeks the destruction of Israel,” Labour Friends of Israel director Jennifer Gerber told The Jerusalem Post on Friday. “The British government has repeatedly failed to take action to ban it in its entirety. This debate is intended to increase the pressure on them to do so without further delay or excuses.”
MP Joan Ryan, the head of the pro-Israel Labour Party group, worked to obtain the cross-party parliamentary debate on the terrorist proscription of Hezbollah. The Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends.”
According to a statement from Labour Friends of Israel, the group “has long called for the complete proscription of the terrorist group Hezbollah. Currently, the UK only proscribes Hezbollah’s ‘military wing,’ but not its ‘political wing.’
The UK’s distinction is not one that Hezbollah itself recognizes. Its deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem, stated in 2009 that the ‘same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel.’
“This false distinction means that Hezbollah flags can be flown on the streets of Britain,” LFI wrote. “This is most notably seen in London during the annual al-Quds Day parade. Last June, LFI vice chair Louise Ellman wrote to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, calling for Hezbollah’s proscription as well as asking London Mayor Sadiq Khan to review the policing of the event. In November, she met with the Metropolitan Police to discuss our concerns.”
The US, the Arab League, the Netherlands, Israel and Canada have all designated all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
The White House on Friday urged all countries to outlaw all of Hezbollah.
“I also call on all our allies to take stronger steps with us to confront Iran’s other malign activities,” President Donald Trump said. “Among other actions, our allies should cut off funding to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, its militant proxies, and anyone else who contributes to Iran’s support for terrorism. They should designate Hezbollah, in its entirety, as a terrorist organization.”
The European Union designated Hezbollah’s so-called military wing, Izzadin Kassam, a terrorist entity in 2013. The UK classified Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist entity in 2008 because of the group’s attacks on British soldiers in Iraq.
The EU’s terrorist classification followed Hezbollah’s 2012 attack on an Israeli tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, resulting in the murders of five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver. The trial of the two Hezbollah suspects is slated to proceed in February.
The two men on trial for the attack, Lebanese-Australian Meliad Farah and Lebanese-Canadian Hassan El Hajj Hassan, fled to Lebanon. Their trial is being held in absentia, because Lebanon’s government has refused to extradite the two suspects to Bulgaria.
A third Hezbollah attacker, Lebanese-French national Mohamad Hassan El-Husseini, is believed to have carried the bomb onto the bus. He died during the blast.
Germany’s most recent intelligence data show that 950 Hezbollah operatives work in Germany. The Hezbollah members raise funds and recruit members. They also play a key role in supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against the Jewish state.
Israeli and German lawmakers appealed to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to ban Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine from Germany. De Maizière rejected the request.
In 2013, Taleb Yaacoub, a Hezbollah member carrying both Lebanese and Swedish passports, was convicted in Cyprus for plotting to murder Israelis. The Cypriot court sentenced the man to four years prison.
In 2015, a Cypriot court sentenced Hezbollah operative Hussein Bassam Abdallah to six years in prison for collecting explosives to use against Israelis.