Membership and “inviting support” will be a criminal offense carrying jail time of up to 10 years, says the British statement.
By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News
Hezbollah is to be totally banned in the U.K. following its classification as a terrorist organization, according to a statement from the British government.
“A draft order, laid in Parliament [Monday], will proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety,” said the government on its website.
“Subject to Parliament’s approval, from Friday when the order comes into effect, being a member [of] or inviting support for Hezbollah…will be a criminal offense, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment,” it said on its website, gov.uk.
The order also includes Ansaroul Islam and JNIM which operate in the Sahel region in Africa.
“Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilize 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. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety,” said Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Hezbollah’s External Security Organization and its military wing including the Jihad Council were already banned in 2001 and 2008 respectively, the government notes.
The statement says that “Hezbollah was established during the Lebanese civil war and is committed to armed resistance to the State of Israel. It continues to amass weapons in direct contravention of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, putting the security of the region at risk.”
The official U.K. announcement adds that Hezbollah’s “involvement in the Syrian war since 2012 continues to prolong the conflict and the regime’s brutal and violent repression of the Syrian people.”
“We are staunch supporters of a stable and prosperous Lebanon. We cannot, however, be complacent when it comes to terrorism,” said U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in an apparent reference to Hezbollah’s membership in the Lebanese cabinet.
“It is clear the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wings does not exist,” said Hunt, adding that the British government “is sending a clear signal that [Hezbollah’s] destabilizing activities in the region are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the U.K.’s national security.”
The foreign secretary added, however, that “this does not change our ongoing commitment to Lebanon, with whom we have a broad and strong relationship.”
Israel’s Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has thanked the British government for blacklisting Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, including its political wing.
In a statement, Erdan says that he had discussed the issue earlier with the U.K. home secretary, and told him it was “an important way to combat the group’s murderous agenda. We cannot allow terrorist groups to hide behind the veil of a legitimate political or government entity,” said Erdan.