The United Kingdom is set to proscribe the Iranian-backed, Lebanese-based terror organization Hezbollah in its entirety, The Jewish Chronicle reported Thursday. The UK outlawed Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist entity in 2008, but the “political wing” of the organization is not currently restricted.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid will use his speech at next week’s Conservative Party annual conference to announce the decision, which has long been called for by the Jewish community and officials across the political spectrum.
Stephen Crabb MP, the chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, in July, attacked the “entirely artificial distinction” between Hezbollah’s two wings. Hezbollah’s own leadership has repeatedly mocked the idea of two separate entities.
The Home Secretary is expected to announce that, following formal reconsideration of the UK’s position on the Iranian sponsored terrorist group, he will be taking action to ban all parts of Hezbollah.
Javid, a staunch ally of the Jewish community, is reportedly acting upon an assessment by the Home Office, which says Hezbollah “is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel and aims to seize all Palestinian territories and Jerusalem from Israel.”
The false distinction has left Islamists taking part in the annual Al Quds Day rallies in London to wave the group’s yellow flag and claim to be expressing support only for the terror group’s “political wing.”
MP Joan Ryan, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, wrote to Javid in June, after the rally to say she was “appalled that the government should once again have allowed this Iranian-inspired hate fest to take place on the streets of London.”
She added: “I fail to understand why the Home Office has not heeded the repeated warnings raised by LFI MPs and the Mayor of London over the past year. I have today requested an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary to discuss this matter.”
The Home Secretary is believed to also have received support for his decision from new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The minister recently labeled Hezbollah an “outrageous, disgusting” organization.
Hezbollah in its entirety is already considered a terror group by America, Canada, Israel, and the Arab League. The EU currently only bans the “military wing.”
The move by the UK government draws a sharp contrast with the position taken by opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who in 2009, during a meeting in parliament, referred to members of Hezbollah and Hamas as “friends.”
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