Australia has decided to declare Hezbollah – both its political and military wings – a terrorist organization.
Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews made the announcement on Wednesday. In 2003, Australia listed Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization, but it now joins 17 countries including United States, the UK, Germany, Israel and Canada in outlawing the entire Iranian-backed Shiite terrorist organization which is based in Lebanon.
On Friday, the UK decided to designate the entire Sunni Islamic Hamas as a terrorist organization and not just its military wing. The Iranian ayatollah-led regime is the main sponsor of both Hezbollah and Hamas.
Australia’s Home Affairs minister stressed the need for a strong legislation against terrorism.
“The government has zero tolerance for violence, and there is no cause – religious or ideological – that can justify killing innocent people,” Andrews declared. “The (Scott) Morrison government is committed to ensuring Australia has the right tools and legislation in place to combat the enduring threat of terrorism. As recent events in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and elsewhere around the world have demonstrated, we cannot be complacent.”
Andrews further stressed that there was no place for the radical Islamist organization Hezbollah in Australia’s multicultural liberal society.
“Australia is a nation of rich cultural backgrounds. Our community is built on a broad fabric of many and varied experiences and cultures, and our nation’s character is better off for it,” Andrews said. “The views of violent extremist groups such as these are a stain on that rich cultural fabric. There is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to outlaw Hezbollah during their recent meeting at the global climate conference in Scotland.
“I thank the Australian government and my friend, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, for the intent to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization,” Bennett said on Wednesday. “Hezbollah is an Iranian-backed terror organization in Lebanon responsible for countless attacks in Israel and around the world. Together, we will continue in our fight against terror.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also welcomed the Australian decision.
“Australia is a close friend of Israel in the fight against global terrorism. The Australian decision joins similar and important decisions of 17 other countries in the last two years that have realized that there are no separate wings to terrorist organizations,” Lapid said. “This holds true for the terrorist organization Hezbollah – it is one body, and any separation between its wings is artificial.”
Despite its distant location from the Middle East, Australia has experienced several Islamist terrorist attacks in recent years. In November 2018, the Islamic State-inspired terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali stabbed three civilians in central Melbourne. In December 2020, Raghe Abdi, a radicalized Australian ISIS supporter of Sudanese descent, murdered an elderly couple in the Australian city Brisbane.
The Iranian regime and its main terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, are widely considered Israel’s greatest security challenge. Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah has greatly expanded its military capabilities and is believed to possess an increasingly lethal arsenal of more than 100,000 missiles that can reach any point inside the Jewish state.
However, Hezbollah is also threatening Israel’s internal security and social fabric. Israeli police authorities recently reported that Hezbollah is increasingly smuggling quality weapons to radicalized Arab Israelis in an effort to undermine stability in Israel. The spate of civil unrest in Israel between some Arabs and Jews in May motivated Hezbollah to intensify its efforts to smuggle weapons to radicalized Muslims in Israel.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.