Government been recommended to relist Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and in its entirety

June 23, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has recommended the Federal government consider listing Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organisation.

Senator James Paterson addresses the Senate   Photo: Screenshot

Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation has been listed as a terrorist organisation by Australia since 5 June 2003.

The PJCIS has tabled its report on the Review of the re-listing of Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code.

The committee supported the relisting of Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation (ESO) under the Criminal Code and also recommended that the government consider expanding the listing to include the whole organisation of Hezbollah.

Committee Chair Senator James Paterson said that the committee is supportive of the government’s decision to relist Hezbollah’s ESO but is concerned that Australia is falling behind its Five Eyes partners and many other countries. The US, Canada and more recently the UK have listed the entire Hezbollah organisation as a terrorist group while New Zealand has proscribed Hizballah’s military wing as a terrorist group.

“The evidence provided to the committee was overwhelmingly supportive of proscribing Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organisation, rather than only the ESO. On the strength of this evidence, the committee thinks it’s time for the government to consider expanding the listing as all of our Five Eyes partners have done,” Senator Paterson said.

Deputy Chair Anthony Byrne MP concurred, “It’s clear that the distinction drawn between the ESO and the rest of Hezbollah is arbitrary, and in the committee’s judgement, not something Australia should persist with.”

 

 

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus sits on the PJCIS. He said: “In June 2018, the Intelligence and Security Committee recommended that further consideration be given to extending the listing to the military wing of Hezbollah.

Regrettably, the Government does not appear to have given this recommendation such consideration.

In this report, the Committee has gone further than it went in 2018 – by calling on the Government to give consideration to extending the listing to the entirety of Hezbollah or, at the very least, to the military wing of the organisation.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Arab League all list the entirety of Hezbollah, including its military wing, as a terrorist organisation.

The overwhelming evidence to the Committee has made clear that Hezbollah is a unitary organisation, and it is difficult to see how it can realistically, or reasonably, be subdivided into different parts – only one of which constitutes a “terrorist organisation”.

Let’s be clear about who – and what – Hezbollah is.

I have visited the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires. In 1994, a van loaded with explosives was driven into the building by a suicide bomber – killing 85 people and injuring hundreds more.

All of the evidence points to Iran and Hezbollah being behind the bombing.

 

Given that even some representatives of Hezbollah itself have said that it is “delusional” to draw a distinction between the so-called military and political wings of the organisation, I find it difficult to understand why it should matter what part of Hezbollah carried out this devastating attack against the Jewish community in Buenos Aires.

In 2019, the United Kingdom moved from listing only the military wing of Hezbollah to the whole of the organisation. In announcing the decision in the House of Commons on 26 February 2019, the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

… There have long been calls to ban the whole group, with the distinction between the two factions derided as smoke and mirrors. Hezbollah itself has laughed off the suggestion that there is a difference. I have carefully considered the evidence and I am satisfied that they are one and the same, with the entire organisation being linked to terrorism. …

 This Government have continued to call on Hezbollah to end its armed status; it has not listened. Indeed, its behaviour has escalated; the distinction between its political and military wings is now untenable. It is right that we act now to proscribe this entire organisation.

Here in Australia, the Morrison Government has not followed the clear approach of our key allies, without – it must be said – explaining its position publicly, even at the most general level.

That is unsatisfactory, to say the least.

I urge the Government to read the Committee’s bipartisan report carefully and take its recommendations seriously.  The Australian people deserve no less.”

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) extends its appreciation to the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) for its recommendation that Australia considers listing all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

After a thorough examination of Australia’s current listing of Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation (ESO), the committee unanimously recommended that Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews consider expanding Australia’s listing to include the entirety of the Lebanese-based, Iran-backed organisation.

Over the past 18 years, AIJAC has consistently advocated for Hezbollah to be listed under Australia’s Criminal Code as a unitary organisation. AIJAC has long argued that listing the Hezbollah ESO is not effective to protect Australia’s national security.

AIJAC, as well as the Zionist Federation of Australia and Executive Council of Australian Jewry, each presented a written submission to the committee noting that expanding the listing would be both in Australia’s national interest and would prevent Hezbollah taking advantage of Australia as a safe haven – as other countries have moved to ban the militant group. Australia’s Five-Eyes security allies, the US, UK and Canada, all proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety. New Zealand lists Hezbollah’s Military Wing.

AIJAC was also invited to answer questions posed by members of the committee – including but not limited to chair Senator James Paterson, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Kristina Kenneally and Member for Berowra Julian Leeser – at a public hearing.

“This is a mighty step in the right direction for Australia and reflects the seriousness with which the committee takes the deadly activities of Hezbollah,” AIJAC executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said.

“I thank chair Senator James Paterson, Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and all the other committee members for their thoughtful consideration of this matter.”

“I urge Minister Andrews to seriously consider the committee’s recommendations. This committee, which reached its recommendations unanimously, very rarely proposes a change to the Minister’s decision when it comes to terrorism listings. The fact that it has recommended a change to the current listing needs to be respected.”

Three years ago, the last time the listing of the Hezbollah’s ESO was reviewed, the PJCIS recommended the Australian Government extend Australia’s terrorist listing to the entirety of the Military Wing. That recommendation was not accepted by then-Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton.

“It is now the right time for the Australian Government to list Hezbollah in its entirety,” Dr Rubenstein added. “During the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, we saw Australians flying Hezbollah flags on Sydney streets and read vile comments from Australians who support the murderous group on social media.”

Hezbollah has perpetrated extensive terrorism at home and abroad and is responsible for the killing of scores of Lebanese, Israelis and Americans. Hizballah is known to be active in Australia and a dual Australian-Lebanese Hezbollah operative was sentenced in absentia to life in prison in Bulgaria in 2020 for his role in a terrorist attack that killed six people. Hezbollah, supported by its Iranian puppet masters, is also sworn to the destruction of Israel.

The Zionist Federation of Australia welcomes the recommendation by a Parliamentary committee that all of Hezbollah be proscribed.

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “The distinction Australia makes between the ESO and the rest of Hezbollah is arbitrary, wrong and repeatedly rejected by the Hezbollah leadership. The PJCIS recognises this. We urge the Minister to adopt the committee’s recommendation and proscribe the entire organisation.”

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) reviewed Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews recent re-listing of Hezbollah’s ‘External Security Organisation’ (ESO). The ESO is a subordinate part of Hezbollah. Since 2003, Australia has listed just the ESO, despite Australia sanctioning the entire Hezbollah organisation as part of its UN commitments. Australia is the only country in the world to proscribe just the ESO.

Hezbollah has engaged in terrorism across the globe, targeting Jewish, Israeli and American targets. It is also involved in international drug trafficking and money laundering. Ever since it’s militia temporarily overran Beirut in 2008, it has been granted a veto over Lebanese government decisions. It was also heavily involved in the Syrian civil war.

The ZFA, the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry made a submission to the committee, urging it to recommend to the minister that she proscribe the entire organisation. ZFA Director of Public Affairs Bren Carlill appeared before the committee.

Dr Carlill said, “The bipartisan consensus of the committee reflects a deep commitment on both sides of politics to both Australian security and the international role Australia should play in undermining Hezbollah. This is an excellent outcome, though I won’t pop the champagne until Hezbollah in its entirety has been proscribed.”

Comments

One Response to “Government been recommended to relist Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and in its entirety”
  1. Lynne newington says:

    I have visited the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires. In 1994, a van loaded with explosives was driven into the building by a suicide bomber – killing 85 people and injuring hundreds more.

    All of the evidence points to Iran and Hezbollah being behind the bombing.

    A lot of history there……

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30937055

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