Israel has embarked on a diplomatic move to completely blacklist Hamas and Hezbollah. The country has been engaging European Union members and other countries in-order to amass support for its pursuit.
Israel’s leadership was pleased with the UK’s decision taken on November 19, in which it made plans of labelling the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organization. In relation to the UK’s plans, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid released a rather long statement on his Twitter handle on November 19 which stated that “I thank Home Secretary Priti Patel, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and the entire British government for their decision to recognize all arms of the Hamas terrorist organization as a terrorist organization. This is an important and significant decision that gives UK security forces additional tools to prevent the continued strengthening of the Hamas terrorist organization, including in Britain itself. There is no legitimate part of a terrorist organization, and any attempt to differentiate between parts of a terrorist organization is artificial” [Source].
On November 21, a member of Hamas opened fire in Jerusalem’s Old City’s alleyways and killed an Israeli national Eliyahu David Kay and wounded four others. Two of those shots were seriously injured during the shootout. The gunman, identified as Sheikh Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, was made out as a “senior Hamas official in Jerusalem”. This is one of the terrorist acts motivating Israel to internationally blacklist Hamas.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz also applauded the British and tweeted that, “I welcome the British government’s upcoming move to designate Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organization — including its political wing. This sends a strong message of zero tolerance toward terrorist activities aimed at harming the State of Israel and Jewish communities.”
Terrorism is a heinous crime condemned across the globe and curbing it seems like a commendable decision made by Israel. London was inspired to do so after a meeting between Gantz and Lapid. This was a follow-up to recent campaigns by Lapid who sought to designate Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups and he wanted many countries to join in on the campaigns. During Israel-French meetings, the same ideas were thrown around and this means that Israel is serious in achieving its goal and is working to garner support from relevant parties.
Reports coming from Jerusalem gave a run-down of countries that already designated Hamas in its entirety as a terrorist organisation, and these include the US, Canada, the European Union, the UK and Israel. Australia, New Zealand and Japan only regard Hamas’s military wing as a terrorist organization, and this is because it is the one enacting damage. Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament only outlawed Hamas’s symbols as they violate certain human values and standards.
For Hezbollah, the list of countries that have designated it as a terrorist organization in its entirety is quite long. The list consists of the US, Canada, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bahrain, the Netherlands, the UK, Estonia, Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia, Honduras, Paraguay and Germany. Calls to blacklist Hezbollah were aired out by vast parliamentarians from nations such as Austria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Latvia.
During his July meeting in Brussels, Lapid told EU foreign ministers that “On our northern border we are threatened by Hezbollah, the largest terrorist organization in the world, and in Syria, apart from the ongoing civil war, we are also witnessing Iranian entrenchment. In the south, in the Gaza Strip, we have a terrorist organization that has taken 2 million citizens as hostages”
Historical records show that Lapid has been pursuing to blacklist Hezbollah long back before he even joined the Israeli government. In 2018, he had a meeting with then EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini in which he noted that “The EU needs to know that there is no separation between the political wing and the military wing of Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s political wing is their conduit for transferring money, and we are determined to stop it.”
When it comes to Hezbollah, Lapid has sufficient backup from various supporters in other countries. American legislators pledged their support in the Israeli diplomatic campaign for blacklisting Hezbollah. About 260 members of the European Parliament, national European parliaments and members of Congress and Senate united in writing a letter to the EU’s institutions’ presidents. The letter was demanding that the presidents ban the political party and militant group Hezbollah [Source]. Hezbollah was despised for a 2012 suicide bomb in Bulgaria which killed six people, its collaboration with the Assad regime in Syria and poses a threat to Israel.
In response to all these developments, Hezbollah condemned the UK’s decision to blacklist the political wing of Hamas [Source]. A Hamas spokesman described this decision as “a crime against our Palestinian people and all their history of struggle, as well as a condemnation of the legitimate struggles of all free peoples against colonialism”. But Israel is defending its stance and is determined to blacklist these “terrorist organisations” on a global scale.