German Parliament Blocks Bill Barring Hezbollah

June 7, 2019
Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah display Hezbollah and Iranian flags as they listen to him via a screen during a rally marking the 11th anniversary of the end of Hezbollah’s 2006 war with Israel, in the southern village of Khiam, Lebanon August 13, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

The German parliament shot down a bill on June 6 that would have fully barred Hezbollah from the country, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Currently, the German government has banned Hezbollah’s military wing, not its political wing. The German government also doesn’t designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Members of the German parliament voicing opposition to the bill claimed that dialogue was needed with the terror group rather than a full ban; some even claimed that Hezbollah was “legitimate resistance” to Israel, per the Post. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also opposed to a full Hezbollah ban.

The Germany Jewish community had been lobbying for the ban following Dr. Felix Klein, the German Commissioner to Combat Anti-Semitism, stating that German Jews shouldn’t wear kippot publicly.

“Hezbollah is heavily financed by Iran, and Hezbollah poses, in its entirety, a threat to the entire world,” Central Council of Jews in Germany head Dr. Joseph Schuster said in May, adding that “a continuation of the distinction between their individual wings would be negligent and should therefore be corrected as soon as possible.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted on June 6, “World Jewry rejects any #German who depicts #terrorist group bent on murdering #Jews as ‘legitimate resistance.’ #Hezbollah schemes to invade #Israel-kill Jews. Today’s Germany, has moral obligation to do no harm to Jews.”

The United Kingdom fully banned Hezbollah in February. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said at the time, “It is clear the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wings does not exist. By proscribing Hezbollah in all its forms, the government is sending a clear signal that its destabilizing activities in the region are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the UK’s national security.”

The Israel Defense Forces have destroyed six Hezbollah tunnels since December; they believe the Shia terror group was going to use the tunnels terrorize northern Israelis. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon determined that at least three of these tunnels violated the 2006 ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel.

American Jewish Committee Transatlantic Institute Director Daniel Schwammenthal said at a May 28 panel at Wilshire Boulevard Temple School that Hezbollah uses their political wing in Lebanon to buy off public support through “welfare organizations,” which he compared to how “the mafia in Sicily provides similar services.”

According to the Post, there are around 150 Hezbollah operatives stationed in Lower Saxony, a northwestern German state.

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