At last, Hezbollah in its entirety proscribed as a terrorist organisation

November 24, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Morrison Government continues has announced the listing of the entirety of Hizballah as a terrorist organisation.

The flag of the Hezbollah terrorist group     Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the Government is sending a strong message that Australia condemns the use of terrorism to achieve political, ideological or religious objectives.

She said: “The Government has zero-tolerance for violence, and there is no cause – religious or ideological – that can justify killing innocent people,” Minister Andrews said.

The 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.

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. 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.”

Hizballah’s External Security Organisation has been a listed terrorist organisation since 2003. The group continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provides support to terrorist organisations such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Minister Andrews has also listed The Base as a terrorist organisation. It is a violent, racist, neo-Nazi group known by security agencies to be planning and preparing terrorist attacks. The Base is currently proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom and is known to have organised paramilitary training camps overseas.

The listings will enable the application of terrorist organisation offences to these groups, and align Australia with international partners such as the United Kingdom and Canada.

The Minister aims to finalise the listing as soon as possible.

Since 2013-14, the Coalition Government has allocated more than $69 million to programs that counter violent extremism in Australia. These programs address all forms of violent extremism, including religiously and ideologically motivated violent extremism.

26 terrorist organisations are currently listed under the Criminal Code.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry stated: “The government’s decision to list Hizballah in its entirety as a terrorist organisation, in line with the practice of Australia’s closest allies, is to be applauded.   The ECAJ and other organisations have been advocating this for many years. The fiction that Hizballah’s terrorism can be separated from its other activities has been decisively punctured.  This will deliver a hammer blow to Hizballah’s pretensions to credibility and legitimacy.”

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council said Hezbollah a political and social organisation in Lebanon with a militia stronger than the Lebanese Armed Forces, is a threat to regional and global security. It was established by Iran to pursue the goals of the Islamic Revolution.

Executive director Dr Coli Rubenstein said: “Since 2003, Australia has listed the Hezbollah External Security Organisation (ESO), but this partial listing could not be justified in the face of overwhelming evidence that Hezbollah operates as a unitary organisation.

“Minister Andrews’ decision to accept the recommendation of the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and expand the listing of Hezbollah sends a strong message that Australia will not tolerate these Iran-backed terrorists.”

“AIJAC thanks the Minister and also the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for their courageous, fully justified  decision, which brings Australia into line with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and many others.”

AIJAC has documented and published links between The Base’s American leadership and radicalised Australians.

“The Base is a militant white supremacist movement that actively promotes itself internationally, including in Australia,” Dr Rubenstein said.

“It is a threat to all Australians, including Jewish Australians, with its violent and antisemitic agenda.”

The Zionist Federation of Australia has called for this outcome for many years.

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler welcomed the development. “This is a vitally important step”, he said. “Hezbollah has targeted Jewish communities the world over. I thank the Minister, and also the bipartisan Intelligence and Security Committee, which unanimously recommended this outcome.”

The ZFA submission to the Committee in May this year urged the entirety of Hezbollah to be proscribed. The ZFA also appeared as a witness in the public committee hearing, alongside other Jewish community organisations.

ZFA Director of Public Affairs Bren Carlill appeared before the Committee. He also welcomed news the entire organisation is now proscribed: “This important step aligns Australia’s position with its most important allies, and will help Australia assist its international partners in efforts to stop Hezbollah’s international terrorist and criminal activities”, he said.  He added: “The ZFA also welcomed the listing of The Base. Mr Leibler said, “The rise of violent far-right hate groups is extremely worrying, and I thank the Minister for looking carefully at these groups and proscribing those that meet the definition of a terrorist organisation.”

Talking to Sky News, Senator James Paterson said the decision had been a recommendation that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Committee which he chairs made after receiving very clear evidence that Hezbollah is one organisation, it’s a unitary organisation.

He said: “It is run from the top by Hassan Nasrallah and the Shura Council, which oversees all of its activities, whether that’s civilian or political activities or military or terrorist activities. And the distinction that we drew between the ESO on the one hand and the rest of the organisation on the other just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny in the past, that previous decision. That’s a very welcome move today to broaden listing.”

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the decision to list the entirety of Hizballah as a terrorist organisation is long overdue.

He commented: “I welcome the fact the Morrison Government has finally accepted what has been clear to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Arab League for many years, that Hizballah is one organisation, and that organisation is a terrorist organisation.

No one in Australia should be assisting organisations which promote extremism and hate, and especially not one as dangerous as Hizballah.

Mark Dreyfus earlier this year called on the Government to list the whole of Hizballah (as it did in 2018).

Liberal MP for Wentworth Dave Sharma tweeted: “A welcome and very important decision, which removes the fiction that Hezbollah has a ‘military’ and ‘political’ wing. It is a terrorist organisation in its entirety.”

Alex Hawke, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs said: By listing The Base and Hizballah as terrorist organisations, the Morrison Government has taken action to protect Australia from extremism and hatred in all its forms.

The Government is sending a strong message that there is no place in Australia for violence and the hateful ideologies and actions of these organisations.

We will not tolerate those that would seek to force their political, ideological or religious objectives on others through acts of terrorism.

Since 2013, the Government has invested significantly in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs and will continue to do so as we work to combat the spread of ideologies that seek to undermine our strong community cohesion.”

 

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