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UK to ban Hezbollah under anti-terror laws ~ approved by Parliament

From Sky News, the BBC, and the Telegraph

The UK Parliament is set to pass new rules classifying Hezbollah as a terrorist group. UK authorities say they are no longer able to distinguish between the group's military and political wings. The changes are expected to take force from Friday, after which supporting Hezbollah will be an offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Sajid Javid said: "Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East - and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety."

Even wearing or carrying something which could provoke a "reasonable suspicion" of being a member would be an offence and lead to a six-month sentence. That would mean the flag carried, or worn at the Al Quds march through London every year is banned, or display should, at last, lead to arrest. This isn't certain yet though. 

Labour has refused to rule out opposing Sajid Javid’s move to ban Hizbollah, the Iran-backed militant group. 

The ban will be put to a vote Tuesday evening in the Commons, raising the prospect that it could be opposed by Jeremy Corbyn, who once referred to members of the group as friends.

A Labour briefing document, drawn up by Diane Abbott’s shadow home affairs team last January, advised MPs not to push for Hezbollah to be banned in Britain because party leaders wanted to “encourage” it “down an effective democratic path.”

The advice by Ms Abbott’s team was drawn up in response to a backbench debate calling for a ban on Hizbollah by Joan Ryan, a Labour MP who last week quit the party to join the new Independent group and was chair of Labour’s Friends of Israel.

Al Quds day is the last Friday of Ramadan and the march through many cities is a convenient day near to that Friday. At the moment the oxymoronicly named Islamic Human Rights Commission who organise the march through London are asking supporters to vote on this year's route.  I can't see that any date has been set yet, but the last Friday in Ramadan will be Friday 31st May. They are not happy at the idea of Hezbollah being banned either. 

IHRC has strong grounds to believe that the policy change has been forced by pressure from extremist Zionist groups in the UK in their campaign to silence those who continue to support the Palestinians’ legitimate and internationally recognised right to resist occupation through armed struggle if necessary.

For several years pro-Israel lobby groups have harangued successive home secretaries and London mayors to ban demonstrators from flying the green and yellow Hizbullah flags at the annual al-Quds Day parade which takes place in London at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. 

Fingers crossed for tonight's vote, and no nonsense from Labour. 

below, senior officers of the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police ignore the Hezbullah flag at the Al Quds march of 2017. 

Update Wednesday morning from the left-leaning Independent. 

 

MPs have approved the government's decision to proscribe Hezbollah‘s political wing as a terrorist organisation.

Home secretary Sajid Javid said the new designation would cover the political as well as military wing of the Lebanese Shia group.

“There have long been calls to ban the whole group with the distinction between the two factions derided as smoke and mirrors,” Mr Javid said during a debate on the prevention and suppression of terrorism in the House of Commons. “Hezbollah themselves have laughed off the suggestion there is a difference. I’ve carefully considered the evidence and I’m satisfied they are one and the same with the entire organisation linked to terrorism.”

Labour drew fire for refusing to back the government’s decision, only going as far as saying it would “not be opposing the motion”.

Tory former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers intervened to ask: “Does the Labour front bench support the proscription of Hezbollah in its entirety?”

Tory ex-cabinet minister, Stephen Crabb, also criticised Labour, saying “. . . what we want to hear from the opposition tonight is they actively support this important measure we are taking”.

Labour’s Dame Louise Ellman welcomed the “much-needed measure”, but added: “I am extremely concerned [Mr Thomas-Symonds], speaking for the opposition, was unable to give proper, full support to the banning of this terrorist organisation Hezbollah in its entirety. Hezbollah are not our friends and today would have been a very good opportunity to say so.”


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