British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended on Thursday his country’s decision to ban the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah in its entirety, calling the distinction between the group’s political and military wing an “illusion.”
“The British Government will not entertain the illusion that Hizballah can be cleanly divided into political and military wings, with it somehow making sense only to proscribe the latter,” Hunt wrote in an op-ed published in the Jewish Chronicle.
Hezbollah’s leaders have said on numerous occasions that while some Western governments separate between the two factions of the group, the organization explicitly rejects such distinction.
Britain proscribed Hezbollah’s external security unit and its military wing in 2001 and 2008, respectively, but fell short of outlawing the entire organization. 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.
“I was glad to support the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to change the British Government’s position and proscribe Hizballah in full,” Hunt stressed. “Their intervention in Syria’s civil war exposes the emptiness of the argument that their ambitions are confined to Lebanon.”
Javid, a staunch ally of the Jewish community, was 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.”
Hunt concluded: “Britain is committed to good relations with Lebanon and a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians (…) The best way of serving those aims is to deal in realities rather than illusions.”
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.
[Photo: NHS Confederation / Flickr]