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By huge majority, Czech parliament calls for outlawing Hezbollah in its entirety

Foreign Minister Ashkenazi hails non-binding motion as another victory for Israeli diplomacy, calls on other countries to follow suit

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

A child in tiny military fatigues waves the Hezbollah flag as supporters of the group's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wait for his televised speech in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 following the US airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
A child in tiny military fatigues waves the Hezbollah flag as supporters of the group's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah wait for his televised speech in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020 following the US airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

The Czech Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday night passed by an overwhelming majority a resolution urging the government to declare all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization and to push the European Union to end its artificial division of the Lebanese group into a military and a political wing.

Sixty-three lawmakers voted in favor of the non-binding motion; seven opposed it.

“I believe it is necessary to abandon the confusing distinction of the political and military branch of Hezbollah, which the European Union accededed [sic] in 2012 for certain diplomatic reasons, and to be one of those countries that act legibly [sic] on this issue, such as Germany, the United States, Austria or Canada,” Jana Černochová, the chairwoman of the chamber’s defense committee who spearheaded the motion, wrote in an English-language statement posted to her Facebook account after the vote.

“I am well aware that we are dealing with many other important issues at the moment, but they must not cause us to forget about the originators of threats to international security and peace in the world and be satisfied that they are not heard from.”

Zdravím z nočního promořování v PS. Já sliby plním❗️????????Poslanecká sněmovna právě na můj návrh označila hnutí Hizballáh…

Posted by Jana Černochová on Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Jerusalem welcomed the passing of the resolution.

“The Czech parliament’s decision against Hezbollah is another step in the effort led by the Foreign Ministry to expand international pressure on Hezbollah,” said Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, calling on other countries to follow suit in declaring the organization in its entirety a terrorist group.

“Czechia is a true friend of Israel. I thank the members of the parliament for this important decision, and hope that it will translate into additional steps,” he said.

Israel’s ambassador to the Czech Republic, Daniel Meron, thanked the country’s parliament for the vote, saying it “once again spoke the truth about security and peace in the world.”

The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (Screen capture: YouTube)

The resolution stated that Hezbollah is a “terrorist organization that significantly destabilizes the Middle East region and, through its global network, also threatens all democracies.”

It rejected the “misleading division of this organization into military and political parts, as this organization acts as an internally interlinked structure.”

The lawmakers called on the government in Prague — traditionally one of Israel’s staunchest allies in Europe — to “push for the abandonment of the concept of dividing Hezbollah into two parts at EU level and its full inclusion in the list of terrorist organizations.”

They further urged the government to “promote at international level the suppression of Hezbollah’s influence in the world in order to increase international security.”

Recent months have shown momentum for Israel’s drive to have the international community outlaw Hezbollah. Before the Czech parliament’s vote Tuesday, lawmakers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland passed similar resolutions.

Last week, the governments of Estonia and Guatemala recognized the group as a terrorist organization.

“The Foreign Ministry is leading an interagency effort to increase international pressure on Hezbollah, and in the past year and a half, twelve countries have joined the list of states that recognize Hezbollah, including all of its wings, as a terrorist organization,” the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

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