British Home Secretary Sajid Javid plans to outlaw the Hezbollah terrorist group later this year, a senior Conservative source told the British-based Jewish Chronicle news website on Tuesday.
According to the report, Javid vowed to take “decisive action” over the Iranian-backed organization ahead of last weekend’s Al-Quds Day march in London, where Hezbollah flags were once again flown, for the second year in a row.
Al-Quds Day is an annual event created by Iran's first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomenei. During Al-Quds Day, rallies are held around the world and are used to incite against Israelis and Jews.
Last year as well, flags of Hezbollah were openly flown during an Al-Quds Day parade in London, with police taking no action. The protesters took advantage of a loophole in the British law which blacklists only Hezbollah’s “military wing” and not its so-called “political wing”.
The Home Office has the power to ban the political wing and thereby proscribe the group in its entirety.
A Tory source told the Jewish Chronicle on Tuesday, "Sajid is a very different beast to the Home Secretary he has just replaced.
“[Former Home Secretary] Amber Rudd spoke repeatedly about taking action over Hezbollah – but for whatever reason was not able to get around to doing anything. Sajid has vowed to take decisive action on the matter. He will make this very clear over the forthcoming weeks,” the source added.
Following last year’s rally, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other figures from the British political system urged Rudd to fully ban Hezbollah.
MP Joan Ryan, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, wrote to Javid after this year’s rally to say she was "appalled that the government should once again have allowed this Iranian-inspired hate fest to take place on the streets of London", according to the Jewish Chronicle.
She added, "I fail to understand why the Home Office has not heeded the repeated warnings raised by LFI MPs and the Mayor of London over the past year. I have today requested an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary to discuss this matter."
Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate last week, Phillip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, said, “Very distinguished international bodies have banned Hezbollah outright, they’ve proscribed it as a terrorist organization… frankly I think we should join them.
“Hezbollah is an Iranian creation that sits as the crown jewel in Iran’s regional strategy of Jihadi revolutionary warfare. It is in short the most powerful armed non-state actor in the world. This is an organization which potentially is more lethal than Isis, and it is all backed and funded by Iran,” he added.
A Home Office spokesperson refused to comment on whether Javid indeed planned to proscribe Hezbollah in full.
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.