Germany moves towards total ban of Hezbollah activities following Bundestag vote

MPs back non-binding motion to ban all activities by the Lebanese group in the country


Germany has moved to outlaw Hezbollah entirely and call for the group to be placed on the European Union’s list of terrorist organisations after a parliamentary vote on Thursday.

MPs called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to outlaw all activities by the Lebanese group in the country.

The motion was supported in the Bundestag by members of Angela Merkel’s governing Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democrats, their coalition partners, as well as the opposition Free Democrats.

The motion, which is not binding, would increase pressure on the German government to act, analysts said.

It said strong measures had been taken against Hezbollah supporters suspected of fundraising within Germany for the Lebanese group, but that more needed to be done.

“It is unacceptable that Hezbollah is waging a terrorist fight against Israel in the Middle East, which is being financed through worldwide criminal activities, among other things,” said Mathias Middleberg, a spokesman for Ms Merkel’s CDU, in a statement before the vote took place.

“In view of Germany’s special responsibility toward Israel, we call on the government to ban all activities for Hezbollah in Germany.”

Britain, Israel and the United States are among a number of countries that enforce a total ban on Hezbollah’s activities. Many European countries, including Germany, outlaw only the group’s military arm.

To date, the European Union has included only Hezbollah’s military wing on its list of terrorist organisation.

The German Union of Jewish Students was among Jewish groups welcoming Thursday’s motion, calling it a “correct and important step from the German Bundestag”.

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