Israeli leaders on Wednesday hailed Australia’s decision to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, calling the move a triumph for Israeli diplomacy.
“I welcome Australia’s intent to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization in its entirety,” tweeted Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett Wednesday morning. “Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terror organization in Lebanon responsible for countless attacks in Israel & around the world. Thank you to my friend Scott Morrison for your leadership.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid touted the move as a victory for efforts by the Foreign Ministry and Israeli security establishment to encourage allied governments to ban Hezbollah as a whole, rather than merely its military wing.
“I thank the Australian government for its decision to designate the entire Hezbollah group as a terrorist organization. Australia is a close friend of Israel, including in the fight against global terrorism. The Foreign Ministry has led, with close cooperation with the Israeli security community, an international campaign to have Hezbollah declared a terrorist organization.”
On Wednesday, Australia extended its blacklisting of Hezbollah to cover the entire organization, recognizing the entire group as a terrorist movement, rather than just its military wing, which was already recognized as a terrorist group.
Several countries in the world have in recent years blacklisted all of Hezbollah.
Germany last year issued a federal order outlawing Hezbollah in the country, and also took enforcement measures under the provisions of the order.
The order prohibits any contact with members of the organization and does not differentiate between its various arms - military, political or social. According to the order, any use of the organization's symbols and the organization's assets in Germany, if any, would be banned.
In March of 2019, the British government designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Last year, Britain's finance ministry added the entire Hezbollah organization to its list of terrorist groups subject to asset freezing.
In November of 2020, Slovenia joined the list of countries to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
This past February, the Liguria Regional Council in Italy designated Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.
Earlier this year, Austria amended its Symbols Act, which prohibits the use of the symbols of terrorist groups, and stipulated that all arms of Hezbollah are considered terrorist organizations.
The European Union, however, only includes Hezbollah's military wing - and not its political wing - on its list of sanctioned terrorist organizations. There have been calls on the bloc over the years to amend its blacklist to include the entire group.