UK to Proscribe Hezbollah at Last

Updating its measures against terrorism, the UK Government has laid before Parliament a proposal to proscribe another 3 organisations, including Hezbollah in its entirety.

There has been passionate debate over proscribing Hezbollah for several years, with the UK Government previously treating a perceived political wing of the organisation differently from its military wing.

A rally of Hezbollah supporters with banner of their leaderHezbollah supporters rally around a huge banner of their leader.

However, today Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that he has taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety because Hezbollah is continuing its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East and:

“We are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing
and the political party.”

It seems that the Government has now recognised what some have been saying for years, which was confirmed when Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“It is clear the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wings does not exist,
and … that its destabilising activities in the region are totally unacceptable
and detrimental to the UK’s national security.”

Hezbollah is a Shiite terrorist group that is supported by Iran and already deemed a terrorist organization by the United States. Just last week the US Government expressed concern about Hezbollah’s growing role in the government of Lebanon.

Back in June 2017 we highlighted the fact that the UK Government’s policy brought shame to the streets of London by allowing Hezbollah flags to be paraded openly in the annual Al Quds Day march.

In 2018, when the Government and the Mayor of London had again refused to prevent this offensive march, it took a lone lawyer to stop it – if only for an hour.

 

UPDATE 27th February

On Tuesday evening the Government’s proposal passed in the House of Commons without a vote because the Labour Party decided not to oppose the motion. Labour’s shadow home secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, even declined to reply to Home Secretary Sajid Javid when he was asked to clarify whether he supported the ban.

Nick Thomas-Symonds states the Labour Party positionNick Thomas-Symonds presenting the Labour Party position

This prompted a row within Labour, with one of their MPs saying during the debate that he deeply regretted that their long and proud tradition of confronting murderous, hateful ideology had not found expression at the frontbench despatch box.

Louise Ellman MP also criticised the shadow home secretary for being:

“Unable to give proper, full support to the banning of this terrorist organisation”