On April 30, 2020, the German government designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and immediately launched a series of raids on mosques, Lebanese community associations and homes. The U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had publicly demanded this designation during his visit to Germany on May 31, 2019, as had Israeli officials on multiple occasions. Following the designation, the U.S. and Israeli governments immediately welcomed the decision.
In February 2019 the UK government adopted the same designation, which has been imposed by the United States since 1997 and the first adoption of its list of so-called “Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” a process that reflects U.S. foreign policy considerations. Since 2013, the EU has also included the armed wing of Hezbollah in its list of terrorist organizations, differentiating it – unlike Germany – from Hezbollah’s political and social formations.
Hezbollah is one of the strongest political parties in Lebanon and participates in the government. Together with its allies, it forms the parliamentary majority of the democratically elected Lebanese Parliament. This majority backs the current government under the Lebanese Prime Minister, Hassan Diab. The president of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, was elected In 2016 with the support of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah, including its armed wing, is a main pillar of independence and sovereignty of Lebanon, one primary reason for the escalation of U.S. and European attacks and repression directed against the party. In 2000, Hezbollah and its Lebanese allies liberated South Lebanon from the occupation of Israel, which had lasted 22 years. In 2006, Hezbollah successfully defended its country against a new Israeli aggression and managed to repel the attacking Israeli army. Hezbollah’s political and military presence remains the main deterring factor against a new Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It also played a decisive role in the defeat of DAESH, the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq, and now participates in the struggle against the American-Turkish-Israeli occupation of the 25% of Syrian land.
The Lebanese government immediately expressed its opposition to the decision of the German government: Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti summoned the German ambassador in Lebanon and reiterated to him that Hezbollah “is a fundamental political component of the country and represents a broad class of the people, and is part of the Lebanese parliament”
IADL notes that designation by third parties of political or other institutions of a sovereign country as “terrorist” or “banned” organizations, is an offense against national independence and sovereignty. It represents an alternate form and a characteristic example of unilateral coercive measures.
We underline that even the armed wing of Hezbollah fulfills all the conditions provided by international law, [article 4, A-2 of the 3rd Geneva Convention of 1949] as a legitimate resistance organization.
The legal status of Hezbollah as a resistance organization is internationally recognized as a signatory to the April 26, 1996 ceasefire agreement alongside the United States of America, Israel, France and the Lebanese government.
Hezbollah does not target civilians and represents a legitimate resistance movement of the people of Lebanon, unlike Israel and the U.S., whose aggressive wars and colonial invasions and occupations are responsible for a high toll of civilian death, destruction and deprivation of political, social, cultural and economic rights throughout the region.
Hezbollah’s right to resist is supported by national liberation movements internationally, as well as by progressive states in the world that continue to uphold their sovereignty in defiance of U.S. and European unilateral coercive measures.
IADL further notes that in the past, almost all resistance movements have been designated as terrorist organizations or labeled criminal by the colonial powers occupying their homelands. Similarly, resistance movements in European countries were also labeled terrorist and viciously suppressed by the Nazi occupation throughout Europe.
The IADL demands from the governments of Germany, the UK and the USA and the responsible parties of the European Union to revoke the designation of Hezbollah and other liberation movements and resistance organizations as terrorist organizations, to end its interference and aggressive acts against other states, including unilateral coercive measures, and to refrain from further such actions in the future, respecting the principles of national sovereignty and self-determination.