The Zionist Federation of Australia has called on the Australian Government to proscribe the entire Hezbollah organisation.
ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation. This reality is accepted by 22 countries, and yet not by Australia. Although Australia proscribes one part of Hezbollah, senior officials of the organisation laughingly reject these false distinctions, repeatedly claiming that all of Hezbollah is one organisation.”
“Australia”, continued Mr Leibler, “is a responsible actor in international affairs, and is on the front foot in so many security matters. And yet, for some reason, governments of both stripes have failed to categorise Hezbollah as it really is. It is time this changed.”
On 29 April, Hezbollah’s ‘External Security Organisation’ was re-listed as a terrorist organisation by the Australian Government. When a terrorist organisation is listed by the government, the listing lapses after three years, and needs to be re-listed. The Australian Government has listed the ESO since 2003.
Each time a terrorist organisation is listed, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security reviews the listing.
The ZFA has made a submission to the Committee, showing with many examples how Hezbollah rejects a distinction between the main organisation and the ESO, and how decisions relating to conducting terrorism are made by the Hezbollah leadership, not by the ESO.
ZFA Director of Public Affairs Bren Carlill was a co-author of the submission. “Hezbollah is an international organisation, with criminal, terrorist and fundraising networks in many different countries”, he said. “It has operated in Australia, and its militias have operated in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, where it engaged in ethnic cleansing.”
The criteria for an organisation to be proscribed is that it “is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act”. Without doubt, the entire Hezbollah organisation meets these conditions.
The ZFA submission notes that Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-General, Naim Qassem, said:
“In Lebanon there is one party that is called Hezbollah. We do not have a military arm and a political arm. We do not have [a political party that is called] Hezbollah [and at the same time] a resistance party. Hezbollah is a political party; it is a resistance party and the party of action on behalf of Allah and in the service of the people. In short, this is Hezbollah. Therefore, all these distinctions, that some people are attempting to disseminate, are something that we reject; they do not exist. All the senior officials and activists, and the diverse capabilities that we in Hezbollah possess, are at the service of the resistance. We have no priority save for resistance – from the organization’s leadership till the very last of its fighters…”
Australia should proscribe the entire organisation of Hezbollah.
To read the ZFA submission to the Intelligence and Security Committee, click here.