Britain to ban Hezbollah's political wing

British Home Secretary reportedly to ban the political wing of Hezbollah to prevent its supporters from parading its flag on UK streets.

Elad Benari,

Sajid Javid
Sajid Javid

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid is set to ban the political wing of Hezbollah in a move which would prevent supporters of the group from parading its flag on UK streets, The Jewish Chronicle reported Sunday.

Javid’s expected move follows warnings by MPs that the UK had drawn a false distinction by proscribing Hezbollah’s military wing but not its political side.

This loophole in British law has allowed participants in the annual Al-Quds Day to march through central London to wave the Hezbollah flag, featuring an assault rifle.

At the end of last year, Javid acknowledged that Hezbollah chiefs had themselves questioned the distinction between its military and political activities.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that in answer to a Parliamentary question, the Home Secretary responded, “It is clear that Hezbollah has engaged in and promoted terrorist activity around the world.

"That is why we have already proscribed its military wing, but I am aware that Hezbollah leaders have themselves cast doubt on the distinction between the military and political activities,” he added.

Following the 2017 Al-Quds Day rally, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other figures from the British political system urged then Home Secretary Amber Rudd to fully ban Hezbollah.

An MP familiar with Javid’s plans told the Sunday Telegraph, "It has been worked on for some time and is now imminent - and long overdue.

"It was a curious anomaly not to proscribe Hezbollah's political wing as well given that such a range of other countries had made a similar decision. In the current climate, it is a really strong signal that we won’t tolerate celebrations of terrorism and antisemitism on the streets of the UK," the MP added.

Hezbollah's military wing was banned by the Labour government in 2008 for supporting and committing terrorist acts. But ministers have argued that outlawing the entire group could damage relations with the Lebanese government, which includes Hezbollah representatives.

In 2013, the European Union similarly blacklisted Hezbollah's “military wing” as a terrorist organization, while failing to blacklist the group’s political arm.

Members of Congress in the United States have urged the EU to designate all branches of Hezbollah as a terror group, after several Hezbollah parliamentarians in Lebanon were caught on camera calling for terror against Israelis.