World Jewish News
British Interior Minister refuses London's Mayor request to ban Hezbollah's 'political wing'
02.10.2017, Jews and Society
Every year flags of terrorist group Hezbollah are seen at demonstrations in London, like in June during the anti-Israel Al Quds Day march.
Demonstrators are able to fly Hezbollah flags because they claim they are showing solidarity with the political wing of the Lebanese organisation.
Hezbollah's "military wing" is banned in the UK under the section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000 but its "political wing" is not, although the group itself does not make a distinction between the two both use the same military-style emblem – including an assault rifle brandished aloft.
Currently people are able to display the Hezbollah flag and claim that they are showing solidarity with the political wing of the organisation.
Several MPs and Jewish organisations have called for the government to proscribe the political wing of Hezbollah and stop protestors from flying its flag at demonstrations.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan too urged Home Secretary (Interior Minister) Amber Rudd to close the Hezbollah loophole and ban all factions of the organisations in the UK, in a letter he wrote to her.
In the letter, he wrote: “I am writing to make strong representations on behalf of London’s Jewish community and others who have legitimate concerns about the Al Quds Day March.’’
“Hezbollah is an illegal, proscribed organisation, yet many perceive that it was actively celebrated during the Al Quds Day March.
“I would appreciate a response from the Government that acknowledges the hurt that is felt and your plans to close any loophole."
But, according to a report in The Jewish Chronicle, Khan was disappointed to see the minister refusing his ban request.
In her response to Khan’s letter, Amber Rudd refused to issue an outright ban, instead saying it is only illegal to carry a Hezbollah flag if the “context and manner” in which it is done clearly demonstrates support for the group’s banned faction.
“The group that reportedly organised the parade, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, is not a proscribed terrorist organization,’’ she wrote about the Al Quds Day.
“This means they can express their views and demonstrate, provided that they do so within the law.’’
“The flag for the organisation’s military wing is the same as the flag f or its political wing. Therefore, for it to be an offence under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000, for an individual to display the Hizballah flag, the context and manner in which the flag is displayed must demonstrate that it is specifically in support of the proscribed elements of the group.”
Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday treatened Israel in a recorded speech to supporters for the Ashoura holiday.
Nasrallah addressed a large rally in the Shiite neighbourhood of Beirut remotely from his bunker via video link.
He called on Jews who emigrated to Israel to “leave and return to the countries from which they came so they are not fuel for any war that the idiotic Netanyahu government takes them to”.
Responding to the speech, Security Cabinet member and Minister for Housing and Construction MK Yoav Gallant said: “Nasrallah speaks from his bunker, and he has good reasons to do so. If he makes a mistake and starts a war, we will send Lebanon back to the Stone Age.”
Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, Israel has targeted more than one hundred convoys of advanced weapons on their way to Hezbollah or other Iranian-backed militias, as well as weapon storehouses located in Syria. In addition, Netanyahu said in August that Iran was building weapons factories in Syria and Lebanon, designed for Hezbollah to use against Israel.
Nasrallah made similar threats against Israel earlier this year, which prompted Intelligence Minister Israel Katz to say that if Nasrallah dared to fire at Israel’s home front or attack its national infrastructure, “all of Lebanon will be hit”.