“Hezbollah openly calls for the violent elimination of the State of Israel and questions the right of the State of Israel to exist,” the German Ministry of the Interior said.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Germany’s Ministry of the Interior announced Thursday morning a ban on all activities by the Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah in Germany.
According to the order, it is prohibited to use symbols of Hezbollah publicly, in an assembly, in print, or in audio or visual material.
In addition, the assets of Hezbollah in Germany are to be confiscated and forfeited to the government to the extent allowed by law.
The Ministry of the Interior said in a statement that it “is of the opinion that Hezbollah openly calls for the violent elimination of the State of Israel and questions the right of the State of Israel to exist. The organization is therefore fundamentally against the concept of international understanding, regardless of whether it presents itself as a political, social or military structure.”
To ensure that evidence of potential Hezbollah cells in Germany could not be destroyed when the ban was announced, police conducted searches at 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning in four mosque associations accused of belonging to Hezbollah in Berlin, Dortmund, Bremen, and Munster as well as the private residences of the leaders of each association.
The associations under investigation are suspected of forming part of Hezbollah due to their financial support and propaganda for the terrorist organization.
Security officials estimate that Hezbollah has approximately 1,050 active members in Germany.
The ban follows a nonbinding resolution passed by Germany’s parliament in December 2019 calling on the government to ban all activities of Hezbollah in Germany whether military or political.
The European Union, of which Germany is a member, banned Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization in 2013, but did not extend the ban to the group’s political wing.
The distinction between political and military wings was apparently copied from the United Kingdom, which banned Hezbollah’s military wing in 2008.
The UK banned the organization in its entirety in February 2019. At that time, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said, “We are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.”
Hezbollah has long denied that it even has separate wings.
In October 2012, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem said, “We don’t have a military wing and a political one; we don’t have Hezbollah on one hand and the resistance party on the other.”
“Every element of Hezbollah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities, are in the service of the resistance, and we have nothing but the resistance as a priority,” Qassem said.
The Netherlands was the first EU member to ban Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization in 2004.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz applauded Germany’s decision to ban the group. “I would like to express my appreciation to the German government for the move. I am certain that many governments in the Middle East and victims of Hezbollah terrorism share in my thanks,” he said.
Katz also called on the EU to adopt the same policy and “to recognize the organization for what it is,” saying it “constitutes a terror organization, and that is how it must be treated.”
Head of the Blue and White party and Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz said, “I congratulate the German government on making this important decision to recognize Hezbollah, and all its branches, as a terror organization, and I welcome the decision to outlaw all its activities on German-controlled territory. This is a very significant step to take in the global war on terror.”