German media has claimed that the German government is looking to completely ban the Islamist terror group Hezbollah as early as next week.
Der Spiegel has reported that the Federal Foreign Office, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of the Interior have all agreed to a blanket ban of the Lebanese-based terror group. The magazine reports that a final decision will be made next week at the Conference of Interior Ministers.
The ban would mean that the organisation, which has featured prominently in al-Quds day marches in Germany for years, would see its flags and symbols banned. It would be treated the same way as other designated terror groups like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Islamic State.
United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has been a firm advocate of a ban, stating earlier this month: “It is time to designate the Iran proxy Hezbollah a terrorist organisation throughout Europe.”
Following the report, the German Interior Ministry cast some doubts on an incoming ban with a spokesman claiming that an outright ban was not on the government’s agenda.
The ban, if it goes ahead, follows a similar move by the United Kingdom earlier this year. Britain had long pursued a policy as recognising two separate Hezbollahs, a political wing which it permitted and a military wing which it banned, despite critics pointing out the difference was academic. The UK finally banned the political wing in March, prompting the group to protest that the decision had hurt feelings in Lebanon.
German Populists Propose Hezbollah Ban https://t.co/pNI2EaX1qn
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 5, 2019
Germany’s populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) has pushed for a blanket ban and introduced measures earlier this year in the German parliament to vote on proscribing the terror group.
AfD MP Beatrix von Storch announced the measures in June, stating: “Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation. The Berlin government claims you must distinguish between a legitimate, political wing of Hezbollah and a terrorist wing. This does not make sense to us, or the voters.”
While MPs debated the proposal in the Bundestag, they ultimately rejected the motion, with left-wing members of parliament even defending the terror group as a “legitimate resistance” to the state of Israel.
Speaking to Breitbart London, AfD Bundestag Foreign Policy Committee spokesman Petr Bystron commented on the potential ban, praising Ambassador Grenell for his ongoing support of the proscription.
“The AfD is the only party which is genuinely pro-Israel in Germany. First, we pushed for a ban on BDS in May, forcing the other parties to pass their own, watered-down version. Then in June we pushed for a Hezbollah ban, as did Ambassador Ric Grenell, and were voted down again,” Bystron said.
“Now, it seems the German government is finally coming around. AfD policy is Merkel’s policy the way it should be,” he added.